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Antoine Griezmann has resumed Atletico Madrid from Barcelona on loan, just two years after leaving Wanda Metropolitano.
Atleti sold French striker Griezmann to Barca for € 120m. In 2019, yet he has never managed to regain his best form at the Camp Nou.
Lionel Messi’s departure for Paris Saint-Germain earlier in August could have given Griezmann the chance to take center stage, but the 30-year-old received flak from Barca fans when Ronald Koeman’s side-inspired Memphis Depay worked on a win over Getafe last weekend.
Koeman defended Griezmann, saying: “I do not like it when a Barca player is whistled. One who works like Antoine can never be criticized.
“All the attackers can have their day, but there are games where you can not find the place. Nor have we created opportunities for him. ”
However, LaLiga champions Atleti – who were linked to their former talisman last month – have now brought Griezmann back to the Spanish capital.
Griezmann has signed on loan for 2021-22, where the agreement includes the possibility that both clubs can extend it by another year. Barca also announced that there is a mandatory permanent transfer clause.
While his exit will ease Barca’s financial difficulties, Atleti are strengthening an attack that already includes Luis Suarez, Joao Felix and Angel Correa, as well as yet another new recruit in Matheus Cunha.
Athletic President Enrique Cerezo suggested last month that fans would not forgive Griezmann for leaving Barca, who had reportedly been open to offers for the striker for some time, possibly allowing them to keep Messi.
GRIEZMANN’S BARCA STINT OF THE NUMBERS
After making a big call to stay at Atleti – he participated in a mini-documentary to confirm his decision before the 2018 World Cup – Griezmann completed a big money switch a year later.
However, it was not without controversy when Atleti insisted that Barca had fallen around 80 million. EUR for the required fee, but the transfer was still approved.
His first season at Camp Nou was one to forget. The Corona pandemic simply prolongs a gloomy campaign by Griezmann’s previously high standards – nadir for all involved in the humiliating 8-2 defeat in the Champions League to Bayern Munich.
Still, Griezmann entered his second campaign with a renewed opinion and finally seemed to click under the new boss Koeman.
While still having to fit in around key man Messi, Griezmann played 51 times in all competitions, making 45 starts and a total of 3,904 minutes (the second most he has managed in a campaign since his switch to Atleti).
Griezmann scored 20 goals and added 12 assists last season, while his 20 goals involved in LaLiga were only after Messi in Barca’s squad.
He had also started in all three of Barca’s LaLiga matches so far this season, but had failed to score, provide an assist or even create a chance in those appearances.