SHARE
COPY LINK

FOOTBALL

Atletico ‘fed up’ over Barça’s pursuit of Griezmann

Atletico Madrid chief Miguel Angel Gil Marin attacked Barcelona on Tuesday over their pursuit of highly-prized striker Antoine Griezmann, saying he was "fed up" with the Catalan club's attitude.

Atletico 'fed up' over Barça's pursuit of Griezmann
Barça is in hot pursuit of highly-prized striker Antoine Griezmann. Photo: AFP

Marin issued his strongly worded rebuke hours after a Spanish radio station reported that Barcelona were poised to pay the French international's 100 million-euro release clause.

The Atletico CEO said the club's stance was very clear.   

“Not once have we negotiated for Griezmann nor do we have any intention to do so,” he said in a statement issued on the team's official website.   

“A few months ago, I personally expressed to Barcelona's president that our player isn't for sale nor are we going to sell him,” he continued.   

“At the same time, I let him know that his inappropriate conduct was against the integrity of the competition…”

The uncertainty over Griezmann's future could not have come at a worse time for Atletico as they prepare for next week's Europa League final against Marseille.

Marin added: “We're fed up with Barcelona's attitude.   

“That a president, player and a board member speak the way they've done about the future of a player with an existing contract and just a few days before disputing a European final, is an absolute lack of respect towards Atletico.”

He said Atletico would be demanding compensation from Barcelnoa should “the player exercised his right to nullify his contract due to their pressure throughout the season”.

He finished off by declaring “enough is enough. I hope this statement serves its purpose and that us Atletico fans can enjoy this moment and prepare ourselves for a final like we should.”

Marin's plea followed a report by Cadena Cope radio station that “Barcelona have told Atletico Madrid they are going to pay Antonie Griezmann's get out clause. And Atletico know the player will be leaving at the end of the season”.   

That came after Atletico president Enrique Cerezo refused to clarify Griezmann's future after domestic media suggested Cerezo had met the player for dinner in a bid to persuade the Frenchman to stay at Atletico, with the promise of a bumper new contract.

Cerezo has denied meeting Griezmann for talks but the Atletico president was also not definitive on the 27-year-old's future.    

“I can tell you one thing: Antoine Griezmann is an Atletico Madrid player as of today,” Cerezo said. 

“I cannot tell you anything else because I do not know anything else.”   

Barça were forced in January to deny publicly they had agreed a deal to sign Griezmann, who has indicated he wants his future resolved before the start of the World Cup.

Barça coach Ernesto Valverde on Tuesday described Griezmann as a “great player”.

“But we have to be very cautious about saying anything about a player that is not ours and making sure we respect our rivals,” he added.

FOOTBALL

Putellas becomes second Spanish footballer in history to win Ballon d’Or

Alexia Putellas of Barcelona and Spain won the women's Ballon d'Or prize on Monday, becoming only the second Spanish-born footballer in history to be considered the best in the world, and claiming a win for Spain after a 61-year wait.

FC Barcelona's Spanish midfielder Alexia Putellas poses after being awarded thewomen's Ballon d'Or award.
FC Barcelona's Spanish midfielder Alexia Putellas poses after being awarded thewomen's Ballon d'Or award. Photo: FRANCK FIFE / AFP

Putellas is the third winner of the prize, following in the footsteps of Ada Hegerberg, who won the inaugural women’s Ballon d’Or in 2018, and United States World Cup star Megan Rapinoe, winner in 2019.

Putellas captained Barcelona to victory in this year’s Champions League, scoring a penalty in the final as her side hammered Chelsea 4-0 in Gothenburg.

She also won a Spanish league and cup double with Barca, the club she joined as a teenager in 2012, and helped her country qualify for the upcoming Women’s Euro in England.

Her Barcelona and Spain teammate Jennifer Hermoso finished second in the voting, with Sam Kerr of Chelsea and Australia coming in third.

It completes an awards double for Putellas, who in August was named player of the year by European football’s governing body UEFA.

But it’s also a huge win for Spain as it’s the first time in 61 years that a Spanish footballer – male or female – is crowned the world’s best footballer of the year, and only the second time in history a Spaniard wins the Ballon d’Or. 

Former Spanish midfielder Luis Suárez (not the ex Liverpool and Barça player now at Atlético) was the only Spanish-born footballer to win the award in 1960 while at Inter Milan. Argentinian-born Alfredo Di Stefano, the Real Madrid star who took up Spanish citizenship, also won it in 1959.

Who is Alexia Putellas?

Alexia Putellas grew up dreaming of playing for Barcelona and after clinching the treble of league, cup and Champions League last season, her status as a women’s footballing icon was underlined as she claimed the Ballon d’Or on Monday.

Unlike the men’s side, Barca’s women swept the board last term with the 27-year-old, who wears “Alexia” on the back of her shirt, at the forefront, months before Lionel Messi’s emotional departure.

Attacker Putellas, who turns 28 in February, spent her childhood less than an hour’s car journey from the Camp Nou and she made her first trip to the ground from her hometown of Mollet del Valles, for the Barcelona derby on January 6, 2000.

Barcelona's Spanish midfielder Alexia Putellas (R) vies with VfL Wolfsburg's German defender Kathrin Hendrich
Putellas plays as a striker for Barça and Spain. GABRIEL BOUYS / POOL / AFP

Exactly 21 years later she became the first woman in the modern era to score in the stadium, against Espanyol. Her name was engraved in the club’s history from that day forward, but her story started much earlier.

She started playing the sport in school, against boys.

“My mum had enough of me coming home with bruises on my legs, so she signed me up at a club so that I stopped playing during break-time,” Putellas said last year.

So, with her parent’s insistence, she joined Sabadell before being signed by Barca’s academy.

“That’s where things got serious… But you couldn’t envisage, with all one’s power, to make a living from football,” she said.

After less than a year with “her” outfit, she moved across town to Espanyol and made her first-team debut in 2010 before losing to Barca in the final of the Copa de la Reina.

She then headed south for a season at Valencia-based club Levante before returning “home” in July 2012, signing for Barcelona just two months after her father’s death.

In her first term there she helped Barca win the league and cup double, winning the award for player of the match in the final of the latter competition.

SHOW COMMENTS