Barcelona technical secretary Eric Abidal has revealed the club contacted Antoine Griezmann after he announced he would leave Atletico Madrid at the end of the 2018/19 season.
The France international has since sealed a €120m to Camp Nou, though Atleti still have issues with the fee paid due to a disagreement over the release clause, and Abidal says the club did no wrong in bringing Griezmann to Catalonia.
He told Le Parisien, as quoted by Marca: “Atletico Madrid are defending their interests and so do we at Barcelona. In no way did we have any prior agreement with the player [Griezmann].”
“[Barcelona] got in touch with his entourage, including his lawyer, after Griezmann announced his intention to leave his former club [Atletico].
“[Barcelona] president Bartomeu contacted Atletico to learn about Griezmann’s contractual conditions and to inform them that, if there was to be no negotiations, Barcelona would pay the release clause of €120m.”
Griezmann’s addition to Barca’s squad makes their forward line one of the most fearsome in world football, with the former Real Sociedad star potentially lining up alongside Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, Ousmane Dembele and Philippe Coutinho, and Abidal says the World Cup winner has plenty of qualities he can bring to the team.
Abidal added: “He has a unique talent and experience, because he has won many titles, he has the potential to win big games, he is able to play several positions, he is able to combine the long game, the short game.
“He is very good, he is a great goalscorer and, at Barcelona, you must have a profile like that in the team.”