Antoine Griezmann has been described as being “like a 14-year-old kid” at Barcelona following his summer move from Atletico Madrid.
Barcelona splashed out €120 million in July 2019 to bring Griezmann to the Camp Nou from Atletico. Yet he’s not managed to have quite the impact expected from a player with such a hefty price tag.
Former Real Madrid and Benfica winger Javier Balboa has criticized Griezmann for his performances at the Camp Nou in an interview with El Chiringuito.
“He is one of the best players in Europe and he goes to Barça, where Messi and Suárez are, but he does not appear on the field. If they do not open spaces for you, then you must deal with it. I went through many countries and I did it,” he said.
“It seems that we are talking about children, a 14-year-old boy. He is a world champion. Can’t he adapt to the game of Messi, Suárez and Barça? It is a matter of attitude, of wanting. Braithwaite does that and came from Leganés. He does things calmly and shows himself on the field.”
Griezmann’s form has also been questioned by former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger recently. The Frenchman told beIN Sports that Griezmann “doesn’t look completely adapted” at the Camp Nou.
The 29-year-old has only scored once in La Liga in 10 appearances in 2020 and had a quiet game during Barcelona’s 4-0 win over Real Mallorca on Saturday.
Setien Backs Griezmann
Barcelona manager Quique Setien has given Griezmann his backing when asked about the forward’s role in his pre-match press conference on Monday. He told reporters he is counting on the 29-year-old.
“Griezmann is unquestionable. He has played almost every game since I have been here. It is true there are more players now and more minutes to share. But Griezmann is a great player, we keep on counting on him and will have his protagonism because he is really important for this team and this club.”
Griezman has been a virtual ever-present for Barcelona in La Liga and the Champions League in his first season, scoring 10 goals in 34 appearances. He has told the club’s official website that he wants to be “an important part of the team, on and off the pitch.”
Griezmann Faces Fight for Starting Spot
Setien does not lack attacking options at Barcelona which means Griezmann is under pressure to perform if he is to keep his place in the starting XI.
The World Cup winner started Saturday’s win alongside Lionel Messi and Martin Braithwaite in attack but was replaced on 57 minutes by fit-again Luis Suarez. Messi and Braithwaite were both in target in the 4-0 win, while Griezmann came under scrutiny after failing to impress again.
Braithwaite’s goal was his first for Barcelona since joining in February and could be enough for him to retain his place in the team against Leganes on Tuesday, while Suarez will be keen to make his first start since January after returning from knee surgery.