'It did a lot of damage' - Antoine Griezmann admits Atletico fan backlash was 'deserved' after Barcelona transfer

Griezmann Atletico Madrid Athletic Club LaLiga 2022-23Getty Images
  • Griezmann vowed to remain in Atletico
  • Yet left for Barcelona in 2019
  • Was whistled and booed upon his return to Atletico

WHAT HAPPENED? The French international famously announced his decision to snub a transfer to Barcelona and stay at Atletico after months of speculation in the summer of 2018, however, one year later, the Blaugrana paid his full €120m (£107m/$134m) release clause to prise him away from Wanda Metropolitano. Atletico fans were furious with the move, but Griezmann ended up returning to the capital on a two-year loan deal in 2021 after failing to impress at Camp Nou, which included a €40m (£35m/$40m) purchase option that would be triggered if he played at least 45 minutes in half of Atletico's games this season. He was whistled and booed by the home crowd upon his initial return to Diego Simeone's ranks, but had asked for forgiveness after his transfer was made permanent in October, and has now admitted he "deserved" the rough reception.

WHAT THEY SAID: “It [the Barcelona transfer] did a lot of damage to the fans. They gave me everything and in the end I left because that’s what I wanted, what I needed. I as a fan would also have been very angry. It’s what I deserved," Griezmann told Movistar.

"I became very humble and I worked to try to change that. Those who know me know that I need this relationship with the fans, I need their love, your support to perform at the highest level."

THE BIGGER PICTURE: With consistent performances on the pitch, Griezmann has been able to win over the Atletico fans once again and there is no more bad blood between them. He has been one of their star performers this season and has eight goals and 10 assists in 33 appearances across all competitions.


Ceballos Griezmann Real Madrid Atletico MadridGetty ImagesGriezmannGetty Images

Antoine Griezmann Barcelona 2020-21Getty Images

WHAT NEXT FOR GRIEZMANN? The forward will hope to find the net when Atletico host Sevilla on Saturday in their next La Liga encounter.