In his first official interview upon returning to the club, Antoine Griezmann spoke at some length about his happiness since making a deadline day move back to Atlético Madrid.
“I haven’t slept for about 10 days, waiting for this moment,” Griezmann said on Wednesday after training under Diego Simeone for the first time in over two years.
As ever with Griezmann, the drama surrounding his possible second stint with Atlético reached a fever pitch on Aug. 31, when FC Barcelona decided the time had come to offload him — capping a summer of cuts to Ronald Koeman’s squad.
Atleti were the only destination the Frenchman considered, and early on Sept. 1, the clubs announced Griezmann would be going back to the Wanda Metropolitano on a two-year loan deal with a €40 million option to buy.
“I’ll give it my all in every match to repay the big effort they’ve made for me to be able to return,” Griezmann said. “It was easy for me — knowing that Atleti wanted me back, I only wanted to return. It’s the best place for me, where I can be happy on and off the pitch.”
Griezmann, sporting a fresh haircut, also claimed his return to the league champions is the best thing to happen to him “in the last few years” following his departure for Barcelona in 2019. His €120 transfer to Camp Nou took place one year after he rejected the blaugrana in a widely-panned documentary, and months after reportedly entering closed-door negotiations with them.
“I’ll give it my all for the fans — I want them to know that,” Griezmann said. “I’ll do everything I can to make them proud of the new number eight.
“I think the fans and I had a beautiful relationship,” he continued. “I want to feel that again, and that’s on me. It’s not about words, it’s about actions.”
The World Cup winner — and one of Atlético’s top five all-time scorers — spoke about his relationship with Simeone (“I owe him so much, both personally and professionally”) and Koke as being a key factor in his homecoming. Cholo and his captain will likely lead the charge in getting the dubious Metropolitano faithful back on Griezmann’s side.
“I have a great relationship with Koke, we’ve always chatted over WhatsApp,” Griezmann said. “He’s also very happy. He knows he has another warrior to help him achieve our goals.”
Griezmann is expected to make his second debut with Atlético on Sunday afternoon at Espanyol.