Antoine Griezmann has rejected an £87million move to Barcelona and committed his future to Atletico Madrid.
The player revealed the snub to Barca in a bizarre documentary entitled ‘The Decision’ aired on a pay-to-view channel in Spain.
The fly-on-the-wall style documentary showed him taking advice from his father, his wife and his sister as he mulled over the options of joining Barcelona or staying at Atletico.
Mi afición, mi equipo, MI CASA! @atleti 🔴⚪🔴
Mes supporters, mon équipe, MA MAISON ! @AtletiFR 🔴⚪🔴
My fans, my team, MY HOME!!! @atletienglish 🔴⚪🔴 pic.twitter.com/ByD8Cju5Yb
— Antoine Griezmann (@AntoGriezmann) June 14, 2018
His father told him: ‘You have to do what’s best for your career’. His wife said: ‘If you join Barcelona you will just be another one of their players’. While his sister told him he risked never winning the Champions League if he stayed where he was.
He claimed he had decided to stay after winning the Europa League with Atletico Madrid but then almost had his mind changed again when he was booed by a section of the club’s supporters.
‘I was very affected by it,’ he said. ‘I did not understand why they were whistling me.’ He then said Diego Simeone calmed him down finally helping make the decision to stay.
The tedious naval gazing dream lasted half an hour and ended with Griezmann finally pledging his allegiance to Atletico Madrid.
Some Barcelona supporters joked on social media: ‘Don’t sign him president’ in tweets directed at Josep Bartomeu. But despite the ridicule his decision still represents a major coup for Atletico coach Simeone who urged the club’s board to throw everything at the French forward to keep him at the club.
It also represents a blow to Barcelona and is the second successive year they trumpeted a new arrival only to see him fail to show – last year it was Marco Verratti.
After the broadcast, Griezmann took to Twitter to express his happiness at staying put: ‘My fans, my team, MY HOME!!! @atletienglish,’ he wrote as he accompanied the tweet with a video of him outside the club’s Wanda Metropolitano Stadium.
Griezmann’s decision represents a massive U-turn and comes after the Europa League holders offered the 27-year-old a massive pay-hike leaving him £8.7m a season better off by staying in the capital.
Barcelona had offered Griezmann around £13.1m a season but Atletico’s offer is believed to be closer to £22m.
The French international waited in vain for Barca to raise their offer but there was a reluctance to do so from the Spanish champions.
Their wage budget is already squeezed to the limit just keeping Lionel Messi as the world’s top earner.
There has also been something of a change of heart over the need to sign another forward.
Griezmann staying at Atletico Madrid is good news for both Ousmane Dembele and Philippe Coutinho.
Dembele now has one less player to get past to make the first team and Coutinho will be given more minutes in an attacking role alongside Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi.