Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 9 December 2019

Antoine Griezmann 'happy' over Barcelona transfer as he attempts to draw line under ugly Atletico Madrid exit

Frenchman in line to make debut against Chelsea in Rakuten Cup in Japan on Tuesday

Antoine Griezmann says he is "eager" to make his Barcelona debut and that his heart is with his new team as he looks to draw a line under his bitter exit from former club Atletico Madrid.

The French striker, 28, is in line to make his first start in Barca colours against Chelsea in Saitama, Japan in a pre-season friendly after the Spanish champions met Griezmann's €120 million (Dh495m) buyout clause earlier this month.

The move angered Atletico, who believe that Barca and Griezmann agreed a deal in March to move to Camp Nou at the end of the 2018/19 season but on the understanding that the transfer would not be ratified until the World Cup winner's buyout clause was reduced from €200m on July 1.

But he told media in Tokyo: "I am very happy about the outcome of my transfer. I am very eager to play as soon as possible.

"I wish Atletico players all the best of luck. I am focused on giving my all so that Barca will deliver good results."

So incensed are Atletico that it is understood the Spanish club are threatening to take their case to world governing body Fifa.

Griezmann, who won the World Cup with France in 2018, signed a five-year deal with Barca which includes a staggering €800m release clause. The former Real Sociedad forward scored 133 goals in 256 appearances at Atletico, winning the 2018 Europa League and Uefa Super Cup.

The €120m price tag made Griezmann the sixth most expensive player in history after Ousmane Dembele, Joao Felix, Kylian Mbappe, Philippe Coutinho and Neymar.

Griezmann voiced his appreciation for his time at Atletico and his strong relationship with their manager, Diego Simeone

But the Frenchman said he was now committed to Barca.

"I am focused on fitting in among the Barcelona players. My heart is here with them," he said.

After playing Chelsea in the Rakuten Cup on Tuesday, Barca will face Japan's Vissel Kobe, who feature former Barca players Andres Iniesta, David Villa and Sergi Samper.

Updated: July 22, 2019 03:58 PM

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