Barcelona president, Joan Laporta has admited that Antoine Griezmann was ‘not the player the club needed’ and didn’t fit into their system after the forward was sent back to former club Atletico Madrid on loan.
Griezmann joined the Spanish giants for a £108million fee in 2019, but struggled to impress in several matches despite scoring 35 goals from 102 games, including 20 in all competitions last season
The French superstar became an indispensible player of the team and the club were eager to cut his staggering £300,000 a week salary off their wage bill amid their ongoing financial crisis.
Speaking to TV station Onze, Laporta said the move ultimately didn’t work out but said he could not fault Griezmann’s attitude and hailed him as a ‘great player’.
‘I think that everyone was expecting more from him, because he gave everything and didn’t have a questionable attitude,’ he said.
‘We know what kind of player he was and is, he’s a great player. I think he didn’t fit in our system, but I think he showed a very good attitude. I sent him a message wishing him well, because he’s always had the correct attitude.
‘In footballing terms he wasn’t the player we needed. He scored goals – I think the one he scored in last year’s Copa del Rey that we won was very important – but it’s true that he could have given more. But he was under difficult circumstances.’
In a tribute to Barcelona fans after sealing his return back to Atletico, Griezmann promised he had given his all and was proud to wear the Catalan shirt.
‘Dear Culers. I say goodbye thanking you for your love,’ he wrote on Instagram.
‘I gave everything for this shirt [since] I have been involved with this great club and I am sad that I could not enjoy more of you in the stands, but proud to have been one of you.’
His deal to join Atletico on loan is expected to include a a €50m (£42.9m) option to buy to a player.