Griezmann completes shock deadline-day return to Atletico Madrid from Barcelona

French striker departs as Camp Nou clear-out continues.

Griezmann (file photo) returns to Atletico Madrid.
Griezmann (file photo) returns to Atletico Madrid.
Image: Borja B Hojas/AlterPhotos/ABACA

FRANCE FORWARD ANTOINE Griezmann has made a shock deadline-day return to Atletico Madrid, just two years after leaving to join Barcelona, the clubs announced on Wednesday.

The 30-year-old, who scored 133 goals in his first spell with Atletico, has rejoined on a one-year loan deal with an option to extend by another year, Atletico said.

“Welcome back, Griezmann!” the club wrote on its website.

Barcelona have been struggling financially and had to allow six-time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi to leave for Paris Saint-Germain last month.

Griezmann was one of their highest earners since signing in 2019 for €120 million.

The Catalan club confirmed his departure, saying Atletico “will pay the player’s wages”, confirming that the deal includes a compulsory permanent transfer clause when his loan finishes.

Neither club disclosed the obligation-to-buy fee but it was reportedly set at €40 million euros.

“FC Barcelona would like to thank Antoine Griezmann for his commitment and dedication and wishes him all the best for the future,” it said in a statement.

Griezmann joins Luis Suarez, who left Barca for Atletico 12 months ago, at the reigning La Liga champions.

Barcelona signed Sevilla striker Luuk de Jong on loan as Griezmann’s replacement.

Spain’s La Liga confirmed on Twitter that both transfers were “submitted on time” with no extensions given.

De Jong has scored just 10 league goals in two seasons in Spain.

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Earlier this month, Barca president Joan Laporta revealed that Barcelona’s debts stand at €1.35 billion and that their wage bill is at least 25% higher than their competitors at €617m.

© – AFP, 2021

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