Atlético Madrid announced Tuesday night that star striker Antoine Griezmann will leave the club this summer, and Saturday’s fixture at Levante will be his final game as a rojiblanco.
.@AntoGriezmann ha comunicado al club que no seguirá como rojiblanco la próxima temporada.— Atlético de Madrid (@Atleti) May 14, 2019
In this video (with English subtitles here), Griezmann explained that he has communicated in a meeting with club CEO Miguel Ángel Gil Marín and coach Diego Simeone his decision to end his Atlético career after five seasons, 133 goals and three trophies.
“I wanted to tell you that I have made the decision to leave, to experience new things and new challenges,” Griezmann explained. “It’s been very hard to take this path, but I feel it’s what I need.”
“These have been five incredible years. Thank you very much for everything, I’ll carry you in my heart.”
Griezmann will depart after several summers of incessant rumors, some of which were played up by the 28-year-old himself. The player had a deal agreed with Manchester United in 2017, but chose to stay in Madrid after Atlético were handed a transfer ban. Last summer, he had a preliminary agreement with league champions Barcelona that he breached after Atleti stormed to a Europa League crown. After Griezmann won the World Cup with France, his mammoth €23 million per year extension kicked in, which made him Europe’s third-highest paid player. But that renewal shattered the club’s wage structure and contributed to the departures of Diego Godín and Lucas Hernández.
Griezmann returned this season ostensibly to win the Champions League, but instead Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool will contest the final in Atlético’s stadium after los colchoneros were eliminated by Juventus in the Round of 16. He did not score in either leg of that tie and in fact went two years without scoring away from home in the Champions League.
Atlético’s third captain reportedly is in the final stages of negotiating a new contract with Barça, and he looks set to join the Catalans officially on July 1 when his release clause drops to €125 million.
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