Costa expects Barcelona target Griezmann to stay at Atletico

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While the Catalans show no sign of slowing their pursuit, Costa believes his strike partner will opt to remain in the Spanish capital

Antoine Griezmann is taking time out to decide whether to stay at Atletico Madrid, says strike partner Diego Costa, who expects the France forward to stay.

Griezmann struck twice to deliver Europa League glory for Atletico, who beat Marseille 3-0 in the final earlier this month, but has been strongly linked with a switch to LaLiga champions Barcelona.

The striker is reported to have a release clause of €100million in his contract, with Barca ready to bolster a forward line that already boasts Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Ousmane Dembele.

But Costa, who re-joined Atletico in the January transfer window, feels Griezmann can be persuaded to stay at the Wanda Metropolitano.

"He is taking a little time to say what is next for him and I think there is perhaps some doubt on his part," Costa told a news conference.

"What I'd say to him is that you have to be happy and you must feel that way because a happy player will keep getting better. But if you think you must move to be happy, then you will have to leave as players need that comfort and happiness.

"He knows that we love him very much and that he is the figurehead here, a very important player. If he stays with us, that would be brilliant.

"If he leaves, we also must be happy because he's given us a title this season but, in the end, I think he'll stay."

Like Griezmann, Costa is preparing for the World Cup and the Brazil-born striker believes he is better prepared to make an impact than four years ago, when Spain went out in the group stage.

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"Many things have happened since Brazil," Costa added. "The [2013-14] Champions League final, the injury... I did not play the World Cup in the best conditions.

"I am looking forward to this year, now we've got a different coach [Julen Lopetegui], other players... I'm enjoying it.

"Last time was not good, but now I'm very comfortable."

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