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'Messi is a legend like LeBron James' - Griezmann excited to partner star at Barcelona

23:33 GMT+3 14/07/2019
Lionel Messi LeBron James
The France international is eager to play alongside the Argentine star after making his €120 million move to Camp Nou

Antoine Griezmann says the most exciting part of his move to Barcelona is teaming up with Lionel Messi, comparing him to basketball legend LeBron James.

The France star joined the Spanish champions this week in a €120 million (£107m/$134m) move from Atletico Madrid, bringing an end to over a year of speculation linking him to a move.

And Griezmann, 28, is looking forward to playing alongside his iconic new team-mate Messi, who he says will go down as a legend like the LA Lakers star.

"The thing that makes me happiest is playing with a partner like him," Griezmann said at a press conference. "Messi will be a legend for my son and my son's children. He's like LeBron James for basketball.

"I want to be an important player at this great club and try to win La Liga, the Champions League and Copa del Rey, which is what I'm missing on my list."

Barca had been strongly linked with a move for Griezmann in 2018 and were even reported to have struck an agreement with him, as Atletico reported the Catalan club to FIFA at the end of 2017.

The prolonged saga reached its conclusion with a documentary following Griezmann as he made up his mind about whether to move or stay in Madrid, with the clip produced by Gerard Pique's production company.

In the end he revealed his choice was to remain and sign a new five-year contract at Atletico, but 13 months later he became a Barca player after his release clause was triggered on Friday.

Griezmann received significant criticism for the documentary, but says he did not regret making the film. 

"I've done some bad things in my past and I've never regretted it because it's something I wanted to do at the time," he said.

"I wanted to show what is not seen and I have not toyed with both parties. The most important thing is that we are now together. You have to ask for forgiveness, for some it will be on the field."

When asked whether Luis Suarez and Messi could be annoyed with him, he added: "They could be, but I think that with the assistance that I can give them, we can fix everything."

Given the fairly short amount of time between rejecting Barca and then joining them, many have wondered why there was a change of heart, particularly given he signed a five-year deal with Atletico last year.

For Griezmann it is simple – he was not ready to make such a step in 2018.

"I have a family to move," he said. "I saw my wife, my world, and I was not ready to take the step, and this year has been different.

"It's always difficult to leave a home where we felt comfortable with family and friends, it was difficult. I only have admiration and respect for Atletico.

"I wanted a new challenge, to try to improve myself, not be comfortable. I look for my place in a great club and try to win the three titles."