Antoine Griezmann at FC Barcelona: Assists as an apology
When Antoine Griezmann returns to the public after long weeks on Sunday evening, he is standing in front of a construction site: at Camp Nou, a new lawn is being laid. The classic player presentation can therefore only take place in a modified procedure. Instead of holding the ball up in front of filled grandstands, Barcelona's new star kicks on a green carpet in front of the honorary box with a few children. Fans are not allowed.
Griezmann smiles for the photographers, but he also looks a bit exhausted. Probably a consequence of the humid weather, the many obligations after a change of club and the tense past two months. At the request of the heads of Atlético Madrid on 14 May, he had expressed his views on his future and announced his departure. Since then, speculation has been made about FC Barcelona as a new employer. But because the transfer did not sink until the 1st of July from 200 to 120 million euros and that is still a lot of money, everything mutated into a hanging game. On Friday, the Catalans then had the loans for the lower sum together.
Griezmann's commitment has been the most explosive in Barcelona for many years, and that's not even because Atlético has threatened to challenge the legal redress of 200 million in the old phase-out clause. But on an episode from the previous year. With the French World Champion, 28, comes a player who turned down a bid from Barcelona in 2018 after much deliberation and staged the rejection in a half-hour documentary ("La Decisión").
The strip arrived in Catalonia moderately well. One such as Josep Maria Minguella, former assistant of Rinus Michels, influential agent on many player changes and an integral part of the Barça inventory, reiterated his vow this weekend: "As long as Griezmann plays here, I will not set foot in Camp Nou."
Barça is right
Griezmann strives to appease the critics - and thanks "for a second chance". President Bartomeu shines, proudly taking center stage at the presentation with Griezmann and manager Eric Abidal. The club boss is convinced that he has nothing to fear from Atlético. The Madrilenians have "no evidence" to claim that Barcelona had illegally addressed Griezmann before he left. "Because there was nothing," says Bartomeu.
The arrival of the new artist Barça celebrated with the phrase "C'est magnifique". After all, Griezmann played a crucial role in France's World Cup victory, scoring 131 goals in five years for the defensive Atlético team. "I can score goals, goals, play with a ball touch, play in space and play in depth," he describes himself. "These are my most important qualities, in addition to work and fighting spirit." All in all, he should breathe more spirit and competition spirit into the team, which had been lackluster in the league last season and was disastrously beaten in the Champions League. And of course form an attack triangle with Lionel Messi and Luis Suárez.
Andreu Dalmau / EPA-EFE / REX
Antoine Griezmann (m.) And his French colleagues Samuel Umtiti (l.) And Ousmane Dembélé
However, the two could still be mad at him, the admitted Griezmann casual: "Maybe, I'll see it when I'm with them." Today, Barça's start of the season, but the South Americans are still on holiday because of the Copa América. Griezmann can still work on his soothing strategies. He already has ideas: "You can regulate everything with goal scores." And then there is the mate tea - because of many Uruguayan companions he shares the passion of Messi and Suárez.
Barcelona can not afford Neymar without sales
The French Barça colony around his co-world champions Samuel Umtiti and Ousmane Dembélé has already welcomed him enthusiastically. Whether he will share the cabin with the two at the start of the season is another question. At Barça quite different things could happen, possibly a return of Neymar from Paris. Barça could only finance a Neymar transfer, for which PSG will call at € 300 million, but only if players are exchanged or sold at comparable value. Umtiti and Dembélé are next to Ivan Rakitic and in particular Philippe Coutinho as suitable candidates.
But because Coutinho is still there and last season secured the jersey number 7, which the club had already reserved for Griezmann, the Frenchman has to settle for the first time with the 17. He takes that too relaxed. "Yes, I made mistakes," he says, asking for "La Decisión", "but I have never regretted anything."
Je ne regrette rien - to apologize, he wants to ask at best by services on the court: "Where, I speak the best." Griezmann says he consciously leaves his comfort zone with the change to Barça. In fact, he has much to gain. Not just the goodwill of a public that has recently mercilessly booed him. But also: League, Cup, Champions League. All these titles are still missing for the World Champion.