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Cerezo: “I don’t think the fans will forgive Griezmann”

The potential swap deal with Barcelona has cooled.

Olympique de Marseille v Club Atletico de Madrid - UEFA Europa League Final Photo by Visionhaus/Corbis via Getty Images

Atlético Madrid president Enrique Cerezo says he does not think the club’s fans will forgive Antoine Griezmann for leaving two seasons ago to play with rivals Barcelona. The French striker has been mentioned as part of a possible swap deal involving Saúl Ñíguez.

Cerezo’s comments came during an interview with Europa Press and were reported in Diario AS. The club clarified the comments in AS and said Griezmann is a player for whom he has a lot of admiration and respect. The pair share a very good personal relationship, per Cerezo.

Barcelona are in a dire financial situation and need to offload players to register their new summer signings — and to make Lionel Messi’s new contract official. Players on high wages have been mentioned as being on the transfer list, and Griezmann, one of the club’s highest earners, is seen as a player who could be sacrificed.

Three summers ago, Griezmann released a documentary called “The Decision,” where he battled with his conscience over his future. Barcelona wanted him then but Griezmann, in the end, decided to stay at Atlético.

A year later he moved to Barcelona and he has subsequently failed to settle at the Camp Nou.

Diego Simeone is reportedly the one pushing for Griezmann, who flourished under Cholo’s watch after moving from Real Sociedad in 2014. The 30-year-old played 257 times for the rojiblancos and scored 133 goals, finishing third in the Ballon d’Or voting in 2016.

The comments by Cerezo might put the kibosh on a potential deal, or show that there was never any hope of a deal in the first place. However, Barcelona president Joan Laporta recently said that the Catalan club is “open to all types of proposals, because we’re in a very delicate moment” when speaking about Griezmann’s future.