Legal dispute erupts as Atletico point accusing finger at Antoine Griezmann and Barcelona

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Antoine Griezmann. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe
Antoine Griezmann. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

Kevin Palmer

Atletico Madrid have issued a strongly worded statement suggesting Barcelona have not paid the full amount required to complete a deal for striker Antoine Griezmann, after the Catalan giants confirmed they have paid his €120m release clause to sign the French World Cup winner.

After months of speculation and confirmation from Griezmann that he had decided to leave Atletico earlier this summer, his move to Barcelona was confirmed on Friday, but a legal wrangle may now begin between the two clubs.

Atletico believe Griezmann had agreed to join Barcelona before the release clause in his contract was reduced to €120m and are claiming the amount deposited to complete the deal on Friday is €80m short of what they are due.

“Antoine Griezmann, represented by his lawyer, has appeared at the headquarters of the Professional Football League to unilaterally terminate the contract that binds the player with Atlético de Madrid, having deposited on behalf of the player the amount of €120m from Fútbol Club Barcelona,” read the statement.

“Atlético de Madrid believes that the amount deposited is insufficient to meet its release clause since it is obvious that the commitment of the player and the Football Club Barcelona was closed before the aforementioned clause was reduced from €200m to €120m.

“It was also prior to the date on which the clause was modified the communication that the player made on May 14 announcing his disengagement from the club.

“Atlético de Madrid believes that the termination of the contract occurred before the end of last season due to events, acts and demonstrations carried out by the player and that is why we have already started the procedures we consider appropriate for the defence of our rights.”

Barcelona have yet to respond to Atletico’s statement, but this disagreement was mentioned several weeks ago, as Griezmann confirmed he wanted to leave the Madrid club and move to the Nou Camp.

It remains to be seen how far Atletico will take their action against Barcelona over the Griezmann transfers, with talks between the club expected take place to try and resolve the dispute.

There are also suggestions that Griezmann’s arrival could put the Barcelona future of Luis Suarez in doubt, with Neymar also pushing to complete his return to the club from Paris Saint-Germain this summer.


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