Thursday 13 December 2018

Luis Suarez appears to confirm Antoine Griezmann will move to Barcelona

Antoine Griezmann of Atletico Madrid
Antoine Griezmann of Atletico Madrid

Luis Suarez has hinted that Atletico Madrid forward Antoine Griezmann will join him at Barcelona this summer.

Griezmann, 27, was strongly linked with a move away from the Spanish capital last summer, with Manchester United even agreeing personal terms ahead of a proposed move to Old Trafford, however the Frenchman chose to stay at the Wanda Metropolitano due to his side’s inability to buy a replacement because of a transfer ban.

But it now appears Barcelona have stolen a march on their rivals to land the former Real Sociedad player, after Suarez suggested the Frenchman ‘will be welcomed’ at the Camp Nou.

Suarez told Spanish station Radio Rincon: "It makes the club proud to bring players of this quality like Antoine, like [Ousmane] Dembele and [Philippe] Coutinho came.

"He's a player who brings a huge amount, he has a lot of years playing at the highest level, always fighting. He rules up front for Atletico and that is fundamental.

"He is not coming to take the place of anyone, but with the ambition of winning important things. He will be welcomed."

Griezmann has enjoyed another fruitful season under the tutelage of Diego Simeone, scoring 27 goals in all competitions while playing a pivotal role in Atletico’s run to the Europa League final.

The Catalans would need to meet his release clause of €100 million to buy the striker, who is contracted until mid-2022.

Barcelona are still unbeaten in La Liga after 34 matches, however they face Real Madrid in El Clasico at the Camp Nou on Sunday.

The Blaugrana have coped remarkably well following the shock departure of Neymar to PSG last August, with the Brazilian prized away for a world-record transfer fee of £198 million.

Barcelona have gone on to win La Liga and the Copa Del Rey, but Suarez admitted his departure did upset the Uruguay international.

“His departure hurt, we were friends, he took the decision with all responsibility, but we were aware that he was going to be missed,” he added.

"I think he did not go for money, but for goals he wanted to fulfil in Paris."

Neymar scored 20 goals in a Barcelona shirt last season but they have not suffered in his absence, with Suarez netting 24 times and teammate Lionel Messi once again ripping through the scoring charts with a total of 38.

Suarez and Messi have struck up a strong relationship off the field, and the former Liverpool forward spoke fondly of the diminutive Argentine.

“I do not see him as Leo Messi, but as a human being. Our children are friends and our wives too.

“It's difficult in football to find a friend, more so in your same position due to egos that exist.

“However, with Leo we lived it differently, he helped me to reach the Golden Boot and now I will do what I can for him.”

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