Griezmann — I’ll repay ‘Decision’ snub with assists
BARCELONA — Antoine Griezmann insists he has no regrets about snubbing an offer from Barcelona last summer via a documentary after being presented at Camp Nou on Sunday.
Barca finally completed the signing of Griezmann from Atletico Madrid on Friday after the forward’s lawyer deposited his €120 million release clause with La Liga.
Griezmann, 28, arrived in Barcelona on Saturday, undergoing a medical and signing a five-year deal on Sunday before being presented with the No. 17 shirt in front of his friends and family.
However, the arrival of the World Cup winner has divided the club’s supporters. Some can’t forgive the public way he rejected them in his “The Decision” TV special in favour of staying at Atletico last year.
“I have done various bad things in the past,” the France international said when asked about the documentary. “But I have never regretted anything because they’re things I wanted to do at the time.
“I didn’t play with either of the two sides. In the end, [Barca and I] are now together, and I can’t wait to wear the shirt. If I have to apologise, I will do so on the pitch. That’s where I do my best talking.”
Catalan outlet Diario Sport even suggested in May that Barca’s dressing room had vetoed Griezmann’s arrival because of the documentary.
Asked if he could understand why the likes of Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez would be annoyed with him, he added: “Maybe. We will see when I get the chance to meet up with them. Everything can be fixed with assists on the pitch.
“What makes me most happy is being able to share a mate [a South American drink] with Messi. I am really happy, he’s the No. 1 and a reference for all players. He’s going to be a legend for my kids and for their kids. It’s a joy to be able to play with him.”
Griezmann spent five years at Atletico, where he scored 133 goals in 257 games, but he felt now was the time to take on the challenge at Barcelona after having turned them down last year.
“I had a family to move: a daughter in school with all her friends, a wife with a good life [in Madrid],” he said when asked why he declined to go to Barca 12 months ago. “I wasn’t ready to make this step. I thought I still had something to achieve with Atletico. This year it was different.
“But it’s always difficult to leave a home, a place you feel very comfortable, where your family, friends and teammates are. It was difficult. I only have admiration for Atletico. I am grateful to them and to Cholo [Simeone].
“Now I have the challenge to try and improve myself, to find my place at Barcelona, to get in the team, to be an important part of a great club and to try and win the league, the cup and the Champions League — that’s what I am lacking in my honours.”