Attemping to describe Lionel Messi and what it’s like to play with the Barcelona captain can be difficult but teammate Antoine Griezmann may just have delivered the goods.
Griezmann spoke to L’Equipe while on international duty with France preparing for the 2020 European Championship and described how when it comes to playing with Messi, “You send him a melon, he turns it into caviar!”
The 30-year-old also discussed his relationship with the Argentina international and feels the duo’s understanding on the pitch is improving.
“[Our relationship is] good. We get along well. We sometimes write messages to each other, we communicate a lot in training. On the pitch, he’s obviously a super easy player to play with. You send him a melon, he turns it into caviar! We don’t have that pressure to miss a pass with him,” he said. “In the game, things get better and better. This year, it was a bit complicated because we had a lot of injuries and we played in a system where everyone was not necessarily in their best position. But we are going to start a new season with new recruits, it will go better.”
The Barcelona attack has been boosted ahead of the 2021-22 season by new signing Sergio Aguero. The Argentina international has arrived on a free transfer from Manchester City. Barca should also have Ansu Fati available again after the teenager missed the majority of last season through injury.
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Griezmann Hits Out At Critics
Griezmann also spoke about the criticism he has received since joining Barcelona from Atletico Madrid in 2019 and feels he has been harshly treated. The France international, who cost €120m ($134m), says some of the comments have been over the top.
“In France I have earned respect. Those who know football realize that I do well everywhere I go. In the national team, all the balls go through me, I I feel freer, like at Atlético Madrid,” he explained, “In Barcelona it was difficult because of my first games and the criticism was sometimes exaggerated. In 2021, however, I think it will get better.”
The forward often looks a different player in a France shirt than with Barcelona and scoring an eye-catching bicycle kick last time out for Les Bleus in a friendly win over Bulgaria.
Griezmann has now scored in his last three games for France and heads into the tournament in fine form. Didier Deschamps has a squad packed full of quality making France one of the pre-tournament favorites.
Griezmann ‘Feels Freer’ With France
There has been speculation Griezmann could be sold this summer with Barca needing to make some big sales if they want to bring in any headline signings in the transfer window.
The Frenchman may attract offers if he shines with the France squad at the Euros, and the 30-year-old has admitted he feels freer when he plays for his national side than with Barcelona.
“I feel freer than at Barça, be it to come and claim a ball or to finish an action in the area. When it comes to defending, I move for the team’s needs: sometimes, I defend as a midfielder, sometimes as a winger,” he explained. “From the moment I’m free offensively, I feel good. When they ask me to attack as a winger, I don’t have the speed for one-on-one. I’m not a reference either.”
Griezmann and France start their campaign on Tuesday 15 June with an intriguing clash against Germany. France also plays Hungary and Portugal in the group stages of the tournament.