Antoine Griezmann admitted Lionel Messi was one of the reasons he rejected Barcelona in 2018


Antoine Griezmann finally completed his long-awaited move from Atletico Madrid to Barcelona on Friday. 

The Frenchman had been liked with a switch to the Camp Nou for what seems an eternity, with the Blaugrana making a very public bid last summer too. 

It appeared his transfer was given the green light in 2018 after Barca met Griezmann's £88 million release clause. 

But the player then released a documentary video titled "La Decision", in which he revealed he would, in fact, be staying at Madrid.

Soon after, the World Cup winner signed a contract extension with Atletico, which increased his release clause to the €120 million Barca paid on Friday, almost 12 months later. 

Despite initially committing his future to Los Rojiblancos last year, it was obvious he was going to move this time around.

Griezmann himself actually announced that he was leaving back in May, at the conclusion of the 2018/19 season. So what stopped him moving last summer?

Well, according to an interview he did eight months ago, it was partly down to Lionel Messi. Apparently, Griezmann wanted to be the main man, and play at a club built around him.  


"Was it hard to refuse Barca? It was very difficult," he told FourFourTwo back in November 2018.

"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.

"[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."

Looking back, that suggestion is rather ironic now, considering Griezmann has just walked straight into Messi's shadow. 

The Frenchman certainly won't be the main man at Barca. Yes, he'll be important, but the La Liga champions will be built around Messi until the day he retires. 


It seems that Griezmann has come to terms with the idea of playing second-fiddle to the greatest of all-time and there's no doubt that together, they will be lighting up the Camp Nou next season. 

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