Antoine Griezmann Hits Back at Critics in Tell-All Interview

Nov 24, 2020, 10:00 AM GMT
Antoine Griezmann
Antoine Griezmann has finally fired back at his critics | Soccrates Images/Getty Images

Since his move to Barcelona in the summer of 2019 (and even before that), Antoine Griezmann has faced quite a bit of criticism.

The £107m signing from Atletico Madrid has struggled to live up to expectations at Camp Nou, managing just 17 goals and five assists in 58 appearances for Barcelona, and his underwhelming form on the pitch has coincided of rumours of a poor relationship with Lionel Messi, his managers and pretty much everyone else.

Well, Griezmann sat down with Movistar+'s Universo Valdano to set the record straight, and here's what he had to say.

On Why He Stays Quiet

Josep Maria Bartomeu, Antoine Griezmann
Griezmann has always vowed to stay quiet | TF-Images/Getty Images

"Since I have arrived, since my presentation at Barcelona, I have not spoken. As I said that day, I did not want to speak publicly, I only wanted to do my talking on the pitch. Because I am like that, it is what I do best, to be with the ball at my feet.

"But It's time to make things clear, right? Because I've been putting up with different comments and I've had enough of it."

On His Relationship With Messi

Lionel Messi, Antoine Griezmann
Griezmann's relationship with Messi has been debated | Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Griezmann has often been accused of getting in the way of Messi on the pitch, and the Frenchman's presence as a right winger has been interpreted as an attempt to keep him away from the Argentine.

"I spoke with Leo when I arrived, and he told me that when I turned down the first chance to go [to Barcelona], he was screwed because he had asked for it publicly. But he told me he was ready to go to war with me and I notice it every day."

On Comments From People Close to Him About Messi

Lionel Messi, Antoine Griezmann
Griezmann was forced to defend himself | Francesco Pecoraro/Getty Images

Griezmann's former agent, Eric Olhats, has previously suggested he has a poor relationship with Messi, and those comments have also been echoed by the Frenchman's uncle, Emmanuel Lopes.

"I stopped having any relationship with Olhats from the day I got married. I invited him to the wedding day, and he didn't come. That's why I stopped having any relationship with him. He speaks because neither my father nor my sister speak to the press, so they call him. But Leo knows that I have a lot of respect and admiration for him.

"My uncle doesn't know how football works. And in the end, the journalist ended up getting the statement out of him. I told Leo that I never speak to them, in fact I don't even have my uncle's phone number."

On Criticism of His Form

Antoine Griezmann
Griezmann knows he is yet to really get going | Soccrates Images/Getty Images

"I accept it because I know that we are not seeing the best Griezmann, but I understand that every time something else comes out I am the first one to be [criticised].

"In a year and a half, I have had three coaches at Barcelona. That's not easy. I need time to adapt to my colleagues and they to me. And on top of that there are formation changes.

"In addition, the candidates for the presidency also talk about me. I don't think it's the best thing for me when they talk about whether I'm a good signing or not."

On His Departure From Atleti & 'La Decision'

Antoine Griezmann
Griezmann's exit from Atletico was controversial | TF-Images/Getty Images

Griezmann's departure from Atletico was drawn out. In the summer of 2018, he chose to release a controversial documentary entitled 'La Decision' to reveal that he had rejected Barcelona and signed a new contract with Atleti, only to actually make the move one year later.

"I needed a change. There were exits like those of Diego Godin and Lucas Hernandez which also made me make the decision to leave. It all contributed.

"With the documentary I wanted to show that deciding to go to one team or another is very complicated. People thought it was a game and that I laughed at the fans. I just wanted to show how a player does not know what to do and what to decide. Your wife, your parents, your children talk to you, but in the end you decide.

"After the documentary my parents got angry with me because they didn't understand what I did when filming the documentary. Besides, they wanted to see me at Barcelona."

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