Antoine Griezmann has rejected a £87million move to Barcelona and committed his future to Atletico Madrid.
The player revealed the snub to Barca in a bizarre documentary entitled ‘The Decision’ aired on a pay-to-view channel in Spain.
The fly-on-the-wall style documentary showed him taking advice from his father, his wife and his sister as he mulled over the options of joining Barcelona or staying at Atletico.
Antoine Griezmann has revealed he will stay at Atletico Madrid next season
The news will come as a major blow to Barcelona who had looked set to sign him this summer
Griezmann announced it via Spanish TV channel Cero in a show that was called ‘The Decision’
His father told him: ‘You have to do what’s best for your career’. His wife said: ‘If you join Barcelona you will just be another one of their players’. While his sister told him he risked never winning the Champions League if he stayed where he was.
He claimed he had decided to stay after winning the Europa League with Atletico Madrid but then almost had his mind changed again when he was booed by a section of the club’s supporters.
‘I was very affected by it,’ he said. ‘I did not understand why they were whistling me.’ He then said Diego Simeone calmed him down finally helping make the decision to stay.
The tedious naval gazing dream lasted half an hour and ended with Griezmann finally pledging his allegiance to Atletico Madrid.
Some Barcelona supporters joked on social media: ‘Don’t sign him president’ in tweets directed at Josep Bartomeu. But despite the ridicule his decision still represents a major coup for Atletico coach Simeone who urged the club’s board to throw everything at the French forward to keep him at the club.
It also represents a blow to Barcelona and is the second successive year they trumpeted a new arrival only to see him fail to show – last year it was Marco Verratti.
During the show he sought advice from his dad, wife and sister as he mulled over his options
Yet, after all the hullabaloo the striker decides to stay at the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium
After the broadcast, Griezmann took to Twitter to express his happiness at staying put: ‘My fans, my team, MY HOME!!! @atletienglish,’ he wrote as he accompanied the tweet with a video of him outside the club’s Wanda Metropolitano Stadium.
Griezmann’s decision represents a massive U-turn and comes after the Europa League holders offered the 27-year-old a massive pay-hike leaving him £8.7m a season better off by staying in the capital.
Sportsmail reported at the end of last month that Simone wanted the club to pull out all the stops to keep their talisman.
Barcelona had offered Griezmann around £13.1m a season but Atletico’s offer is believed to be closer to £22m.
The French international waited in vain for Barca to raise their offer but there was a reluctance to do so from the Spanish champions.
Griezmann joined Atletico in 2014 and is set to sign a new deal worth close to £22m a season
He has scored 112 goals and claimed his first major honour with the Europa League last month
Their wage budget is already squeezed to the limit just keeping Lionel Messi as the world’s top earner.
There has also been something of a change of heart over the need to sign another forward.
Griezmann staying at Atletico Madrid is good news for both Ousmane Dembele and Philippe Coutinho.
Dembele now has one less player to get past to make the first team and Coutinho will be given more minutes in an attacking role alongside Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi.
The 27-year-old can now concentrate on trying to guide France to World Cup glory in Russia
Despite claims that Barcelona had been offered Mohamed Salah in Griezmann’s place the Catalans are now far more likely to turn their attention to bringing in another midfielder with both Tottenham’s Christian Eriksen and Bayern Munich’s Thiago Alcantara under consideration.
As part of Griezmann’s new deal his buy-out clause is set to stay at £175m. It was due to come down to £87m on July 1 when Barcelona were convinced he would be theirs.
The ripples from the transfer U-turn could be felt elsewhere. Monaco winger Thomas Lemar is now more likely to join Atletico Madrid than move to the Premier League because Griezmann wants his France team-mate signed.
And Real Sociedad will miss out on their share of the Griezmann transfer fee and could now be forced to cash in on forward Willian Jose who Everton tried to sign last season and are still monitoring.