Barcelona sporting director Eric Abidal has spoken exclusively to SPORT about Antoine Griezmann's first few months at the club, admitting that the France forward is nowhere near his best form yet.
Griezmann has admitted that he's struggled to adapt.
He's a player I speak with a lot. He's in a different position. He knows it's complicated to adapt. Here the movements are different, but he's a player that can add a lot and the coach knows that. Defensively he brings a lot and he can play in many positions. He came because he wants to win the Champions League. He knows he's not at his best and that's only fixed by working hard. Griezmann is an intelligent player and the important thing is to know what you can add to the team in the position you are playing.
Was the investment in Griezmann to high?
It could be high, it could be low. It depends on the player's performance. It could be low because if you look for a top player like him, it is almost impossible to find one for that price. Coming to Barça is not an option, it's a desire: only Barça. If a player has Barça in their mind and another team, they're not for us. There are players that say no. When he stayed at Atletico, he had reasons, like the final of the Champions League being at the Wanda and the pressure from his previous coach and he made a decision. We only assess the sportsman and their desire to sign. And we brought him in.
What's the solution to integrate him into the team?
It's very difficult to manage. The solution is hard work. Time will tell. Top players have come here and not adapted in the first year. You have to have patience. Barcelona's philosophy is not that easy.