Antoine Griezmann says he didn't want to be 'Messi's lieutenant' at Barcelona

Antoine Griezmann

Antoine Griezmann to Barcelona was one of the biggest transfer sagas of the summer window.

After yet another successful season with Atletico Madrid, it seemed as if Griezmann was ready to make the next step in his career.

However, the French international decided to stay with Atleti and extended his contract to 2023 - the decision was broadcast on a mini-documentary titled 'The Decision'.

Barca instead had to settle for the signing of Malcom, which hasn't exactly gone to plan so far.

Griezmann would also have been the perfect man to take the baton from Luis Suarez, with the Uruguayan admitting recently that the club need to sign a new striker.

So why did Griezmann reject Barca? Well, he explained his actions in an interview with Canal Plus on Sunday.

It seems the World Cup winner was not content with playing second-fiddle to Lionel Messi, the same reason Neymar decided to move to Paris Saint-Germain in the summer of 2017.

"Was it hard to refuse Barca? It was very difficult," Griezmann said. "You have Barca who wants you, who calls you, who sends messages.

"But then there is the club where you are, where you are an important player and where they build a project around you.

Griezmann celebrates his goal vs Dortmund

"[And] subconsciously, being Messi's lieutenant may have played a part.

"But my team-mates and people at the club [Atleti] did everything, they came to talk to me, they increased my salary.

"They did everything to show that it was my home and that I shouldn't leave. It was really complicated times, especially for my wife where I woke her up at 3am to talk about it!"

It certainly wasn't an easy decision for Griezmann.

Griezmann in action vs France

Playing in the shadow of Messi is something any player signing for Barca would have to expect, with the Argentine still at the peak of his powers at 31.

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