Antoine Griezmann’s former agent and adviser, Eric Olhats, has launched an impassioned defense of the World Cup winner and has hit out at Barcelona and captain Lionel Messi.
It’s no secret that Griezmann has struggled to find his best form since his big-money move from Atletico Madrid in the summer of 2019. Indeed the Frenchman has only managed two goals so far this season for the Catalan giants.
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Barcelona ‘Sick’ Not Griezmann
Yet Olhats has told France Football, via Sport Witness, that the problem is not Griezmann’s but more to do with Barcelona and the way the forward has been treated since his arrival at the Camp Nou.
It’s club that’s sick, not him. Last year, when Antoine arrived, Messi didn’t talk to him, didn’t pass him the ball. He created a real trauma for a more than negative adaptation. That clearly left its mark. It was clear and visible. Add to that the president stepping down, the club conceding eight against Bayern and three different managers… The conditions aren’t good.
Griezmann arrived after Barca had won the league title in 2018-19 and a full year after he had rejected a move to the club in favor of staying at Atletico in his infamous ‘La Decision’ documentary.
Yet Olhats claims Griezmann joined a “struggling” team and slammed Messi’s attitude towards the new arrival.
Antoine arrived in a struggling club where Messi has a view on everything. He’s at the same time emperor and monarch, and he didn’t see Antoine’s arrival with a good eye. His attitude has been deplorable, he made him feel that. I’ve always heard Antoine say there’s no problem with Messi, but never the other way around.
In my eyes, Messi said he wanted to leave to see what role he still had as a decision-making player, regarding the players who arrived and those who left, but he eventually stayed. Classic Messi! As good on the pitch as he is bad off it… Barcelona has been suffering for a while. There was a cancer in that club, and it obviously leaves some marks.
Griezmann’s Relationship With Messi Questioned
Griezmann’s relationship with Messi has frequently come under scrutiny during his time at the Camp Nou. The Barca captain moved to dismiss rumors he hadn’t wanted the Frenchman at the club just months after his arrival.
The captain told RAC1, as reported by Goal, that it was “a lie” that he hadn’t wanted Barca to sign Griezmann because, “I said he was one of the best and the best are always welcome.”
Griezmann returned the praise in an interview with Sport in January. He said, “we are enjoying working together and I am sure it will get better.”
The Frenchman has come under scrutiny for his lack of goals in 2020-21 but was teed up beautifully by Messi on Saturday against Real Betis. Griezmann’s social media activity after the game was also perhaps a nod to those who doubt he gets on with Messi.
There’s no doubt that Griezmann has not had the impact at Barcelona expected of a player who cost €120 million ($140m) or that he has so far failed to strike up a brilliant partnership with Messi.
Griezmann does still have time to turn his situation around, although there is a growing sense Barca could be starting to run out of patience with a player who simply does not seem to have a natural place in the team.
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