December 6, 2021

Griezmann denies Messi rift

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Antoine Griezmann has dismissed talk of a rift with Lionel Messi and distanced himself from comments about his Barcelona team-mate from his former agent and his uncle.

Griezmann’s former agent Eric Olhats had accused Messi of having too much control at the club, saying his “reign of terror” had made life difficult for Griezmann to adapt since his arrival last year.

In response, Messi said he feels tired of being blamed for problems at Barcelona as he was met by reporters at the airport after returning from international duty with Argentina.

The France international came out to reiterate that his relationship with Messi is unscathed and the comments have been made by people who do not represent him or his views.

“I said during my presentation that I didn’t want to talk other than on the pitch, because I’m like that, I talk best with the ball in my feet, but now it’s time to put things in their place,” he told Movistar. “I have been putting up with comments for a long while and now it’s time to say enough.

“My agent is my sister, but she doesn’t speak. Neither do my parents. As no one speaks, Eric [Olhats] offers an opinion but that can do a lot of damage and create doubts about my relationship with Leo. Leo knows I have a lot of respect for him. I learn from him.

“My uncle doesn’t know how football works. A journalist wants a phrase out of you… I told Leo I have nothing to do with them, I don’t speak to them.

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Image: Messi had submitted an official transfer request at Barcelona in August but stayed on under Ronald Koeman

“But at the same time if I don’t speak publicly I give these people a chance to do it for me. There’s always something wrong, if it’s not about Leo then it’s about the future president, or maybe if I’m going to leave in January…

“So eventually I can’t enjoy myself, feel comfortable, get up in the morning and think that everything is okay. But hopefully after this interview, things will quieten down.”

Griezmann also revealed that Messi told him he was left hurt by his decision to stay at Atletico Madrid instead of joining Barcelona in 2018, as publicised by the acrimonious documentary “The Decision” aired on Spanish television.

The 29-year-old eventually decided to leave Atletico for Barcelona a year later in a £108m move, stating he felt he needed a new challenge at that stage in his career.

“I spoke to Leo when I signed and he told me that when I rejected a move to Barcelona in the first place it hurt him, because I made public comments about it, but since we became team-mates he was determined to go all out for each other.”