Antoine Griezmann has completed a shock return to former club Atletico Madrid from Barcelona on the summer transfer deadline day.

As confirmed by the club’s official website, Barcelona have loaned out French superstar Antoine Griezmann to arch-rivals and reigning La Liga champions Atletico Madrid. The 30-year-old forward returns to the Wanda Metropolitano on a year-long loan deal which can be extended by another twelve months.

Griezmann has spent his entire professional career in Spain. Having started out at Real Sociedad, the 2018 FIFA World Cup winner achieved fame after joining Atletico Madrid in 2014, as he plundered 133 goals and set up 50 more in 254 appearances over five seasons. During this time, he also won the UEFA Europa League, the UEFA Super Cup and the Spanish Super Cup.

Griezmann sealed a mega-money move to Barcelona in the summer of 2019, albeit in controversial circumstances. However, the 30-year-old has never been able to showcase his best abilities in the Blaugrana colours. To date, he made 102 appearances for the Catalan giants, managing just 35 goals and 16 assists.

There had been a lot of speculations surrounding his future earlier in the summer as Barcelona battled to keep hold of Lionel Messi by offloading their biggest wage-earners. However, once the Argentine international departed, it was largely believed that Griezmann would be staying put at Camp Nou.

However, the chatter of a return to Atletico Madrid started to pick up on the deadline day. At first, a swap deal involving Joao Felix was being mooted before a move for the Portuguese was ruled out and talks of a standalone deal started to do the rounds. And, finally all that speculation has culminated in perhaps the biggest and most shocking transfers of the deadline day, with Griezmann back at Atletico.

Confirming the move, Barcelona, in an official statement, said: “FC Barcelona and Atlético Madrid have reached an agreement for the loan of Antoine Griezmann for a season with the option of a further season. The Madrid club will pay the player’s wages and there is a compulsory permanent transfer clause.

“FC Barcelona would like to thank Antoine Griezmann for his commitment and dedication and wishes him all the best for the future.”

As revealed by the club’s statement, Griezmann will be joining Atletico on a season-long loan deal with an option of another year. The Rojiblancos will be paying the entirety of his wages while they are also obligated to make his transfer permanent at the end of the loan spell, although the fee for such a deal has not been specified.

Barcelona’s financial situation made it necessary for the club to lose some of their big earners. And with Samuel Umtiti and Miralem Pjanic staying put, Griezmann ended up as the one heading out. The 30-year-old leaves Barcelona having won one Copa del Rey, which came in the last season.

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