Atletico Madrid have reacted furiously to Barcelona’s admission that they are in negotiations to sign Antoine Griezmann by accusing them of tapping up the player in the middle of last season and demanding he goes into training on Sunday.
The club issued a hairdryer ‘comunicado’ on Friday night that read: ‘Atletico Madrid want to express its most energetic rejection for the behaviour of both parties (Griezmann and Barcelona), especially Barcelona Football Club, for having induced the player to break his contractual relationship with Atletico Madrid at a time of the season where the club was playing, not only not only the Champions League elimination against Juventus, but the League title against Barcelona itself.’
After Atletico accused Barcelona of essentially wrecking their season, the Catalan giants will now have to pay Griezmann’s full release clause of €120million up-front to sign the player.
The statement went on: ‘It is something that we consider to be in breach of protected periods of negotiation with players and alters the basic rules that govern the integrity of all sports competition, in addition to supposing a huge loss to our club and its millions of fans.’ Atletico say they have told Griezmann that he is obliged to come in to train with them on Sunday.
And they have flatly refused to accept Barcelona’s request to pay his €120m release clause in installments. The statement also confirmed there was a meeting on Thursday in which Barcelona requested to pay in installments but it added: ‘Obviously the response from Atletico Madrid was negative, understanding both that FC Barcelona and the player have disrespected Atletico Madrid and all its fans. ‘As a result of all this, today, Atletico Madrid has requested the player, his sister as agent of the footballer, and his lawyer, that Antoine Griezmann, in compliance with their contractual obligations with our club, appear next Sunday in the facilities to start the preseason with the rest of his teammates.’