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'He's the best in the world' - Rakitic would 'love' Griezmann to join Barcelona

7:45 PM IST 22/05/19
Antoine Griezmann Atletico Madrid 2018-19
The Croatia international has given his seal of approval to the Atletico Madrid forward's potential move to Catalunya

Ivan Rakitic says he would “love” to play alongside Antoine Griezmann amid rumours the France forward could join Barcelona this summer.

Griezmann has already confirmed he wants to leave Atletico Madrid this summer after five years at the club.

Atletico have reluctantly accepted his request, though the fans have been left angry at the decision given Griezmann signed a new long-term contract just 12 months ago and booed him against Levante last weekend.

Barcelona have been heavily linked with a move for the France international, with boss Ernesto Valverde revealing earlier this week that the club had made contact with Atletico officials over a potential deal.

However, despite Valverde’s comments, Griezmann’s €125 million (£110m/$139m) release clause in his contract has yet to be triggered.

When asked about the prospect of playing alongside Griezmann at the Camp Nou next season, Rakitic was unequivocal in his praise for the player.

“I like him a lot. leaving aside last summer I when he ruined my dream [of winning the World Cup]. But he is a top level player, the best in the world, and of course I would love to play in my team,” Rakitic told Mundo Deportivo.

“He is a great professional who has won almost everything and that surely can add to any team.”

Rakitic also insists Griezmann will still be welcome at Barca despite turning down a move to the club last season.

The 28-year-old was heavily linked with a move to the Camp Nou prior to the World Cup in Russia but released a video shortly before the tournament confirming he had instead signed a new contract at Atletico.

“You have to congratulate him for it because he showed his love and dedication to his club. It was not a decision against Barca or anyone, it was in favour of Atletico,” added Rakitic.

“I congratulate him for that decision and now if I saw him here I would shake his hand and tell him that I respect him because it is not easy to make that decision, to stay then and to leave this year.

“All good players are welcome to us.”