Barcelona president Joan Laporta has had his say on the loan exit of Antoine Griezmann, claiming he was not the right fit for the club.
In an interview with Catalan outlet Onze, as quoted by Transfer Market Web, Joan Laporta has commented on the departure of Antoine Griezmann and why it could not work out for the French international at Camp Nou. The Barcelona president has claimed that he was not the player the club needed.
Antoine Griezmann joined Barcelona in the summer of 2019 in a contentious move, one year after he chose to stay put at Atletico Madrid despite coming ever so close to joining the Blaugrana. The switch to Camp Nou, though, did not work out as envisioned for the 2018 FIFA World Cup winner, who just could not make the same kind of impact as he did for Los Rojiblancos.
Griezmann did show glimpses of his absolute best on several occasions, but struggled to perform on a consistent basis, which eventually made him a frustrating figure. However, it was predicted that the 30-year-old could become the next Barcelona talisman following the departure of Lionel Messi, with manager Ronald Koeman also predicting him to step up.
Griezmann, though, has since been offloaded by Barcelona, albeit temporarily, as he returned to Atletico Madrid on a season-long loan deal on Deadline Day in the summer transfer window. And now, Joan Laporta has had his say on the departure of the French forward.
Speaking to Onze (h/t Transfer Market Web), the Barcelona president said, “I think that everyone was expecting more from him, because he gave everything and didn’t have a questionable attitude. We know what kind of player he was and is, he’s a great player. I think he didn’t fit in our system, but I think he showed a very good attitude.”
“I sent him a message wishing him well, because he’s always had the correct attitude. In footballing terms he wasn’t the player we needed. He scored goals – I think the one he scored in last year’s Copa del Rey that we won was very important – but it’s true that he could have given more. But he was under difficult circumstances.”
Griezmann’s departure also came amid Barcelona’s financial struggles, with the Blaugrana under a mountain of debt at the moment. With Griezmann their highest-paid player after Messi’s exit, Barcelona did need to choose whether they would keep all their high earners or balance their books, with the Frenchman’s return to Atletico Madrid an indicator of which direction they chose to head towards.