Atletico Madrid star, Antoine Griezmann, has revealed via a post on social media that he will be leaving the La Liga outfit at the end of this season amid speculation linking the France international with a move to Barcelona.
The 28-year-old, who was a key member of France’s 2018 FIFA World Cup winning squad, had only signed a five-year extension of his contract with the club just before last year’s World Cup in Russia to quell reports he would join Barcelona at the time.
But now, the experienced forward has brought his five-year spell with the Rojiblancos to an end. “It’s been an incredible five years here; thanks for everything, from the bottom of my heart,” the France star said in the video.
— Atlético de Madrid (@atletienglish) May 14, 2019
Griezmann had told Atletico coach Diego Simeone and chief executive Miguel Angel Gil Marin of his decision and addressed the supporters in the video message.
“I wanted to tell the fans who have always given me a lot of love that I have taken the decision to leave, to see other things, to have other challenges,” he said.
It is believed that Barcelona are still willing to pay a £109 million (€125 million/$140 million) release clause for Griezmann to join ahead of the 2019/20 football season.
The Catalans were in hot pursuit of Griezmann last year, but the France star opted to sign a new contract with Atletico through 2023, announcing his intention in a televised special called “La Decision”.
In any case, Griezmann becomes the third high-profile player set to leave Atletico Madrid behind this summer in what will serve as major setbacks in coach Diego Simeone’s quest to lead the club to glory next season.
Fellow 2018 World Cup winner, Lucas Hernandez, has signed a pre-contract agreement with German Bundesliga powerhouses, Bayern Munich.
Also, experienced defender, Diego Godin, revealed few weeks ago that he would not be renewing his deal at the club which expires at the end of this season.
All three have helped Atletico to a second place finish in La Liga this season behind Barcelona, but fell at the round of 16 stage to Juventus despite having a 2-0 advantage from the first leg as Cristiano Ronaldo scored a hat-trick to earn Juve a 3-2 aggregate win.
What are your thoughts on Griezmann’s decision to leave Atletico Madrid? Will he join Barcelona or has another club in England or France caught his heart?
Share your views on this in the comments section.