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Antoine Griezmann’s homecoming could prove to be Barcelona’s undoing



(Photo via Imago)

Antoine Griezmann’s cheerful smile that once illuminated the Camp Nou bids Barcelona a fateful farewell. It is an undeniable fact that the Blaugranas have found themselves beleaguered with a debt looming upon them and a weighty wage bill simply adding to the angst. Failing to find suitable suitors, most of Barça’s deadwood still remains intact soaking up the sun, while the player with a legitimate future at the club forcefully hits the exit door.

To put it bluntly, Barcelona have repeated the errors of last season, having shoved away yet another proven goalscorer to their rivals Atletico Madrid as they bolster La Liga’s titleholders.

Once competitors of the very same team, it would not be a far fetch to claim the Catalans are now adamant on establishing themselves as Rojiblancos‘ personal Santa Clause.

It is truly a sad state of affairs for a club that not only had to watch their own player slot 2 goals past them in an 8-2 hammering; but now, a season later, also have to return a record signing on loan to the very club to whom they paid over €100 million.

The ineptness of the previous board has undoubtedly crept up in unforgiving fashion, while Joan Laporta’s false promises appear to have fuelled some degree of vexation amongst fans, too.

Nose to grindstone

Living up to that insane price tag has far from been a success, yet Griezmann completely sweats his guts out to prove his worth. Technically, there was never a vacancy open for a superstar like him. A misfit attempting to find his feet, the Frenchman had various purple patches in his first season, amplified by the club going through a managerial crisis halfway through.

In spite of those hiccups, though, Griezmann never truly threw in the towel. On paper, he may have been tasked to situate himself up-field, but in reality, he often tried to transform his ailing fortunes by invariably giving his all in every department. From slide tackles to interceptions in the defensive third, he was a workhorse leaving his heart out.

Griezmann gave his 100% in all scenarios. (Photo via Imago)

Fixated on attempting to prove his doubters wrong, the 21/22 campaign offered the World Cup winner a new lease of life. Initial months followed a similar pattern from last season, with a drought in front of goal blemishing tireless displays. Even so, gradually, things started to click and Lionel Messi began to recognize him as a partner rather than a burden.

Iconic performances in the Copa del Rey, Spanish Supercup, and the second wind in La Liga uplifted team spirits substantially. Without Griezmann galvanizing into action, it’s hard to imagine Barcelona basking in silverware at the end of the 2021/22 term.

The media continuously yapped about him underperforming, but once the timid Frenchman broke out of his shell, he blossomed like none other. To give weightage to that argument, at one stage in 2021, Griezmann had the fourth most goals and assists, a remarkable achievement for someone whose influence was not just constrained to goal contributions.

Despite frequently being the sacrificial lamb in Ronald Koeman’s side, 27 of his 34 goals put the team ahead or tied the game, a testament that he had a knack to come in clutch when required.

Still, as much as his efforts must be lauded on the pitch, off it, he was even more simpatico. Pampering his teammates with branded gifts and sharing a special bond with particularly the youth of Barcelona, he was habitually seen emanating a vibrant vibe. Hardly a Catalan bone in his body, yet he felt more in tune with the team’s values than several current players.

Griezmann was evidently a role model for younger players in the team. (Photo via Fati’s Instagram)

Although Griezmann will understandably be considered a failed signing – owning to the fact that his gargantuan price tag overshadowed his hard work –, it is only fair to recall positive memories of a player that genuinely tried to leave a mark.

It did not mean much in the grand scheme of things, but it said a lot about him as a stalwart of the club when he promoted the women’s team on his social media platforms, attended Barcelona’s basketball games, and remained up to date with the entire institution. A positive persona like him was always needed behind the scenes, helping emit energy on the field too.

Handing over Griezmann on a silver platter

History serves as the ideal lesson to rectify errors, but in Barça’s case, it is being repeated…for the third time, just a season after they already suffered the consequences of being complacent. Since David Villa’s move to Atlético Madrid did not knock some sense into the club, Luis Suárez and Griezmann’s transfers are simply adding salt to the wounds.

Moving on from all these aforementioned players made complete sense. David Villa was at the twilight of his career, Luis Suárez was inarguably past the peak of his powers, and Griezmann had been a huge burden on Barcelona’s strained wage bill. Bidding these players farewell is nothing to frown upon, but handing them over to a direct rival is what severely undervalues these transfers.

It’s no secret that Real Madrid are going through one of their worst phases in recent history. At the back of a trophyless campaign, expecting them to leapfrog towards the title would be foolish.

Similarly, Atlético Madrid barely staked their claim as the champions of Spain. Had Barcelona not choked continuously, today’s script would be vastly different. Taking that into consideration, fortifying Simeone’s cavalry arouses curiosity on Barcelona’s part.

Was it really worth lowering the wage bill when, in fact, Barça lose an attacking presence and allow Griezmann to reunite with the club he has found most success at?

On a sporting level, there’s very little about this that feels right. (Photo via Imago)

Time will surely tell as Joan Laporta’s cold-blooded decisions at the wheel could inevitably fare well in the long run. Nonetheless, an opportunity to fight for the league is being threatened with this move. Griezmann’s arrival at Atleti almost appears like an admission of defeat from Barça.

Simeone, who is partly responsible for the player Grizzou is today, would be delighted to have a talisman of his calibre reunite with him. Griezmann roaming behind Suarez, with Felix and Correa accompanying him already spells danger. The likes of Koke, Rodrigo de Paul & Marcos Llorente in midfield massively bolster the team’s depth and ability as well.

With the deal set in stone and Barcelona securing Luuk de Jong as their replacement in a race against time, it will be intriguing to see the progress of, both, Atleti and Barcelona.

Griezmann will finally find solace in the city where he made a name for himself, but he must be remembered for his match-winning moments, iconic celebrations, and enthusiastic personality. Sweeping those memories under the rug would do injustice to his valiant efforts. Albeit the club blundered signing Griezmann, the Frenchman remained dedicated to fulfilling the club’s values till the very end.

Watching our homegrown legends move the ball in such majestic manner and experiencing the vast set of emotions it brought simply made me fall in love with this beautiful sport. Barcelona's elegant football taught me that you don't have to be an admirer of art to be lost in a whirlpool of colours. This club being one of the few teams that gave performances to savour week in week out obliged me into becoming an exuberant member of this fan base, and this ineffable love for Barça has now encouraged me to spread Barcelona's colorful craft with other football enthusiasts.


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  1. Cristian R.

    02/09/2021 at 11:42

    Some points are valid, but Griezmann’s poor showings and modest output do not justify his astronomical salary. Despite his world-class work ethic, he was not a good fit for Barca, with or without Messi on the pitch. In addition, he only ny wanted a transfer to Atletico.

    So it’s a good piece of business for Barca to get Atletico to pay his huge salary for a year and then purchase him.

    With or without Griezmann, Atletico is the favourite to win La Liga this year.

    With or without Griezmann I will consider this season a success if we manage to finish La Liga on a position that guarantees a place in UCL next season, for I expect us to finish third or fourth in our UCL group this season.

    The only regret I have is that had Griezmann been dealt to Atletico a month earlier we would have had a chance to keep Messi.

    • Abhinav

      02/09/2021 at 16:02

      man you are seriously underestimating this squad, look at all the talent in the team. cant believe you’re being so pessimistic

  2. Steve johnson

    02/09/2021 at 11:51

    There is something maybe we all fail to “see” in Griezmanns (and maybe Suarez transfer) loan to Athletico. Sure Barca threw away around 120mil for Griez, if they had not, they would have been at a much better state when covid arrived. Maybe Barca would then not need to “gift” Suarez to Atheletico, maybe they could even keep Messi. But Barca did waste 120mil on Gruez in 2019 and then things unfolded as we know. And then selling Suarez to Athletico and now loaning Griez to Athletico is just a sign that some people in the Barca board of directors have under the financial circumstances “given up” on la liga and on the Barca status and for the previous and a couple of years to come they have accepted that Barca playes 2nd fidle. And then it all makes sense! Sell suarez to Athletico so Real will not win la liga. Then loan Griez to Athletico so again hopefully we help them and Real will not win la liga. Maybe someone in the Barca board is thinking like that and then things make more sense.

  3. Kophi

    02/09/2021 at 12:49

    Yes Griezmann was our second best player in terms of goals but the truth is that Barca should never had gone for him, he never really fit the Barca system though it was a new challenge for him. He was not the Barca type , besides the previous board was so much into quick fix rather than long term projects , hence why the likes of Arturo was bought to the team . I actually don’t expect anything for at least 2 seasons , we are Barca but we have to accept that new team has to be built and tough decisions had to be made .

  4. krishna Ramachandran

    09/09/2021 at 17:06

    Griezmann was a misfit at Barca. What surprised me the most was him not stepping up when Messi was no longer around. Previously, he complained about not being played centrally and when Messi left, he could have occupied the same areas of the pitch as Messi once did. He lacked confidence with his one touch football in tight spaces and was not brave with forward passes.Always made back passes or lost the ball. He was a waste of space at Barca. This may come back to bite barca but beggars can’t be choosers