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Griezmann tipped to adapt his game to help Messi - just like Suarez did

6:15 pm AEST 23/7/19
Messi Griezmann Barcelona split
The Frenchman may have to alter his style after being the focal point of Atletico's attack but his former coach has no doubt he will prove capable

Former Real Sociedad head coach Martin Lasarte has no doubt Antoine Griezmann will be able to adapt his game to thrive with Lionel Messi, despite his years as the star man for Atletico Madrid.

Griezmann made his much anticipated switch from Atletico to Barcelona in July, after the Liga champions activated his €120 million (£107m/$134m) release clause.

Doing so means Griezmann moves from a club where he was the focal point of the attack to one where he’ll have to fit in beside Messi, whom he says is yet to contact him after he made the move to Barca.

While there might be some doubt as to how he’ll adapt to being Messi's supply line, his former coach Lasarte believes Griezmann is quite capable, likening him to Luis Suarez, who made a similar transition when he joined Barca from Liverpool.

"I think great players can play together for a common goal," Lasarte told Goal. "If the common goal is well defined they will be able to play together, for sure.

"In this aspect Luis Suarez has been so smart. There were the same doubts when he joined Barcelona and Luis adapted to Messi.

"I think exactly the same will happen now. The important thing is to keep egoism and individualism out for challenging for a common goal."

The front line of Messi, Griezmann and Suarez gives Barca their most star-studded attack since Neymar departed for Paris Saint-Germain in the summer of 2017.

Comparisons have been made to that brilliant trio but Lasarte warns it will be important for Barca boss Ernesto Valverde to make certain the current group have an excellent rapport off the field as well as on it in order to match their success.

"Neymar generated a link with Luis and Messi beyond football and you could feel it on the pitch as well," Lasarte said. "This must be the first goal. If the coach is able to create a good relationship far from the pitch, I think we must congratulate ourselves because this will be historic.

"I wish to see the first Barca [match] with all three together."

Griezmann made his debut for the Real Sociedad first team during Lasarte’s time at the club and his success ever since is no surprise to the Uruguayan.

He likens his drive as a teen to something he saw in Suarez, who he coached at Nacional, always reaching for a larger dream - to reach the pinnacle of the sport with one of the world’s best teams.

"He always had a great determination, he always wanted to improve,” Lasarte said. "Luis Suarez had this as well.

"I remember when Antoine and me went on a walk and he was always talking about playing in the World Cup with France. An 18-year-old Luis Suarez used to tell me he would play for Barcelona.

"Both worked hard, both had to be pulled away from the training ground because they used to stay working and improving themselves.

"Almost every day Griezmann was still working when I was leaving the training ground to go home."