‘Messi told me he was screwed when I turned Barcelona down’: Antoine Griezmann lifts the lid on his relationship with the Nou Camp icon and why he has struggled since his £108m move from Atletico Madrid
- Antoine Griezmann has moved to end talk of an ongoing rift with Lionel Messi
- Griezmann joined Barcelona in 2019 from Atletico Madrid in a £108m deal
- Griezmann also hit back at his former agent and uncle for criticising Messi
Antoine Griezmann has revealed his initial decision to reject a move to Barcelona left Lionel Messi unhappy, but insists the duo have a strong relationship together now he is at the Nou Camp.
In 2018, Griezmann starred in his own television show ‘La Decision’ to reveal his decision to stay at Atletico Madrid amid major interest from Barcelona but eventually made the switch a year later, in 2019, for £108million.
His relationship with Messi has been a major source of intrigue to Nou Camp onlookers, with Griezmann’s former agent and his uncle saying the two did not get on.
Antoine Griezmann has opened up on his relationship with Lionel Messi at Barcelona
Griezmann insists that Messi has been supportive of him at the Nou Camp in his time at Barca
Speaking to Universo Valdano late on Monday, Griezmann set the record straight and insisted he gets on well with Messi but his decision to snub Barcelona in 2018 irritated his now team-mate.
‘When I signed for the club I asked for forgiveness for delaying the move and saying I wouldn’t join Barcelona,’ Griezmann said.
‘I told Lionel Messi that I would give everything on the pitch for the club. I spoke with Leo when I arrived and he told me that when I turned down the first chance to go, he was screwed because he had asked for it publicly, but he told me he was with me and I notice it every day.’
Griezmann also hit out at his former agent Eric Olhats, who during the recent international break said Messi oversees ‘a regime of terror’ at Barcelona that has made life harder for Griezmann.
His uncle has also made similar claims, which Griezmann also denies.
‘He (Olhats) was very important in my life but I don’t have a relationship with him anymore,’ Griezmann said. ‘I stopped having any relationship with him since the day I got married. I invited him to the wedding day, and he didn’t come. That’s why I stopped having a relationship with him.
‘My uncle doesn’t know how football works. And in the end, the journalist ended up getting the statement out of him. I told Leo that I never speak to them, in fact, I don’t even have my uncle’s phone number.
‘My parents don’t talk to Eric either, so who is going to talk to him? He can do a lot of damage, and create problems in the dressing room.’
Griezmann distanced himself from comments by former advising slating team-mate Messi
Griezmann has struggled to recapture the form that saw Barcelona spend big to sign him from Atletico Madrid and the France international has underlined the amount of change he has seen at the Nou Camp as a factor that has hindered him.
‘I came to a club that had just won LaLiga Santander and I had to win my place based on work,’ Griezmann said.
‘In fact, it was difficult for me to play until December. I was always available to the coach, I learned that way and it will always be like that. I will always do what the coach asks of me, even if I know that on a personal level what he is asking me hurts me.
‘In a year and a half, I have had three coaches [at Barcelona]. That’s not easy. I need time to adapt to my colleagues and they to me. And on top of that there are formation changes.’