Antoine Griezmann was convinced Atletico Madrid were making progress but, 10 months on, he may wonder if he was right to stay after all.
Atletico play Barcelona on Saturday at the Camp Nou, where Griezmann could have been walking out behind Lionel Messi, a few weeks from almost certainly winning a La Liga title, perhaps a domestic double, and possibly the Champions League too.
Instead, he remained, his choice to reject Barca revealed in a television documentary in June.
“Atletico are doing everything possible to make sure the team keeps growing, it’s incredible,” he said. “I can’t take it anymore, I need to tell the people I want to stay.”
‘The Decision’, also the programme’s title, took several months to materialise as a very public and protracted tug-of-war between Atletico and Barcelona left both clubs feeling aggrieved.
Griezmann might even have gone a year earlier, in the summer of 2017, when Manchester United thought he was theirs until the Frenchman opted to sign a new contract, persuaded that Atletico’s transfer ban would prevent them from buying a replacement.
But his new deal was not definitive, with a release clause included that would drop to 100 million euros 12 months later. Place bet on Live Matches 24/7
“Of course he can leave at some point,” said coach Diego Simeone shortly afterwards.
“I love watching my players grow, and if one of them tells me they have the unique opportunity of playing for a certain team, after they did everything they could for me, like Griezmann has done, I’ll say it’s not a problem.
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