• Thursday, February 22, 2024
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Antoine Griezmann officially joins Barcelona for €120

Antoine Griezmann

Finally, the soap opera surrounding Antoine Griezmann has  come to an end as the 28-year-old World Cup winner will officially play for Barcelona next season after the Blaugrana paid his €120m  (£107m) buyout clause which was deposited at LaLiga’s headquarters.

Griezmann has signed a five-year deal which includes an €800m euro (£717m) release clause.

Griezmann joined Atletico from Real Sociedad in 2014 and scored 133 goals in 256 appearances.

He signed a new five-year deal in June 2018 but announced in May he would be leaving the club this summer.

The 2018 World Cup winner becomes the world’s sixth most expensive signing behind Neymar, Kylian Mbappe, Philippe Coutinho, Joao Felix and Ousmane Dembele.

Griezmann won the Europa League, the Spanish Super Cup and the Uefa Super Cup during his time at Atletico and was the team’s top scorer in each of the last five seasons.

He becomes Barca’s fourth major signing of the summer, following the acquisition of midfielder Frenkie de Jong from Ajax, goalkeeper Neto from Valencia and defender Emerson from Brazilian side Atletico-MG.

As part of his contract renewal with Los Rojiblancos last summer, his release clause increased to 200m euros, however from July 1 it dropped down to 120m euros, almost as if Atletico were aware that they would only keep the forward for one more season.

Rather than pay the 120m euro fee in one lump sum, the Catalans tried to negotiate with Atletico, but they could not come to an agreement. Barcelona were unwilling to part ways with Nelson Semedo, while Atletico were adamant that they would not accept the Blaugrana’s offer of paying in instalments, even though they were willing to pay 130m euros in total. As such, Barcelona’s only option was to pay the 120m release clause.