Antoine Griezmann joins Atletico Madrid from Barcelona on one-year loan-Sports News, Firstpost
Antoine Griezmann, 30, who scored 133 goals in his first stint with Atletico, has joined a one-year loan deal with a one-year extension option
Antoine Griezmann had started all three games for Barcelona in the new LaLiga season. PA
Madrid: French striker Antoine Griezmann has made a shocking return to Atletico Madrid just two years after leaving for Barcelona, the clubs said on Wednesday.
The 30-year-old, who scored 133 goals in his first stint with Atletico, has joined a one-year loan deal with a one-year extension option, Atletico said.
“Welcome, Griezmann! The club wrote on its website.
Barcelona struggled financially and had to allow six-time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi to leave for Paris Saint-Germain last month.
Griezmann was one of their highest earners since signing in 2019 for € 120m.
The Catalan club have confirmed their departure, claiming that Atletico “will pay the player’s salary”, confirming that the deal includes a mandatory permanent transfer clause at the end of his loan.
Neither club disclosed the purchase obligation fee, but it was reportedly set at € 40m ($ 47.2m).
“FC Barcelona would like to thank Antoine Griezmann for his commitment and dedication and wish him the best for the future,” he said in a statement.
Griezmann joins Luis Suarez, who left Barca for Atletico 12 months ago, at the defending LaLiga champions.
Ronald Koeman’s Barca have signed Sevilla striker Luuk de Jong to replace Griezmann.
Spain’s La Liga confirmed on Twitter that both transfers were “submitted on time” without an extension.
De Jong has only scored 10 league goals in two seasons in Spain.
Griezmann’s only major trophy with Atletico was the 2018 Europa League, having signed for Diego Simeone’s men from Real Sociedad shortly after their surprise league title triumph in 2014.
He won the Copa del Rey with Barca last season, scoring the first goal of the final against Athletic Bilbao.
But Griezmann’s stay at Camp Nou was largely disappointing, with the 2018 World Cup winner scoring just 22 times in 74 league appearances for the Catalan giants.
Griezmann’s exit was not expected, however, having started Barcelona’s first three games of the new season.
The move is just the last big-name transfer of the summer, following Messi’s change and Cristiano Ronaldo’s return to Manchester United from Juventus.
But Kylian Mbappe’s dream transfer to Real Madrid from PSG did not materialize on Tuesday.
Griezmann, who finalized his transfer while on international duty to prepare for France’s upcoming World Cup qualifiers, was part of a Barca release on deadline day.
They also allowed defender Emerson Royal to leave for Tottenham and teenage midfielder Ilaix Moriba joined RB Leipzig.
Earlier this month, Barca president Joan Laporta revealed that Barcelona have debts amounting to € 1.35 billion (€ 1.58 billion) and their payroll is at least 25% higher than that of their competitors at 617 million euros.
The five-time European champions haven’t won the Champions League since 2015, when they were inspired by the first three from Messi, Neymar and Suarez, and failed to make it through the quarter-finals in the either of Griezmann’s two campaigns.
Barca were beaten 8-2 in the last eight games by Bayern Munich in 2020 before a 4-1 first-leg home loss to PSG earlier this year as they went out 5-2 overall in the 16 last.
They had to settle for second place in La Liga, five points behind champions Real Madrid, in Griezmann’s debut season before stumbling to a third place last season.
Griezmann has scored 38 goals in 95 appearances for France, including once at Euro 2020 as the world champions have been knocked out in the last 16 games by Switzerland.