Antoine Griezmann had announced in May he would be leaving the Wanda Metropolitano (Atletico Madrid) after the end of the La Liga season. (Image credit: Twitter)
Barcelona announced the signing of Antoine Griezmann on Friday after the Spanish champions paid La Liga rivals Atletico Madrid the 120 million euro release clause required to sign the World Cup winner. "The player will sign a contract with his new club for the next five seasons, through to 30 June 2024, with a buyout clause of 800 million euros," Barca said in a statement. Friday's announcement brings to an end a dispute between the two clubs and Griezmann, who had long aimed to move to the Catalan giants.
The 28-year-old failed to show up for his side's pre-season gathering on Sunday after he had announced in May he would be leaving the Wanda Metropolitano, even though he could not reveal his destination until his release clause dropped from 200 million euros to 120 million euros at the start of the month.
Last week Atletico accused Barcelona and Griezmann of a "lack of respect" after the Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu revealed the two clubs had held talks about the former Real Sociedad forward. Atletico also claimed that Griezmann had told the club that he had struck a deal with Barcelona in March, just days before the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie with Juventus, which saw them dumped out by a Cristiano Ronaldo hat-trick after winning the first leg 2-0 in Madrid.
Griezmann joined Atletico in 2014 and has scored 133 goals in 257 appearances, lifting the Europa League in 2018.
He won the Golden Boot at Euro 2016 when France was beaten in the final on home soil by Portugal before helping to guide his team to World Cup triumph in Russia last year.
The sale of Griezmann comes after Atletico stumped up a whopping 126 million euros to sign rising star Joao Felix from Benfica last week, making the 19-year-old one of the five most expensive players in history. The fee was a record paid by the capital club and the highest ever received by a Portuguese outfit, and the inevitable sale of Griezmann helps finance such a huge transfer for a young player.
Felix burst onto the scene last season, scoring 20 times and making 11 assists in all competitions for Benfica as they won the Primeira Liga and reached the quarter-finals of the Europa League. On Friday Atletico also unveiled Felix's former Benfica teammate Ivan Saponjic, the 20-year-old arriving after signing a three-year deal with the Spanish club.