Antoine Griezmann has explained how “being Messi’s lieutenant” might have been part of the reason why he turned down a move to Barcelona.
Griezmann was courted by Barcelona throughout the summer, but in the end made The Decision to stay at Atletico Madrid.
The Frenchman received a lot of flak for not clarifying his future sooner, admitting “it pissed me off greatly” when he was booed at Atleti’s home stadium last season.
But he has now offered his thoughts as to why he chose to stay in the Spanish capital and reject a move to La Liga’s champions.
“Was it hard to refuse Barca? It was very difficult,” he told French TV station Canal Plus.
“You have Barca who wants you, who calls you, who sends messages.
“But then there is the club where you are, where you are an important player and where they build a project around you.
“Subconsciously, being Messi’s lieutenant may have played a part.
“But my team-mates and people at the club did everything, they came to talk to me, they increased my salary.
“They did everything to show that it was my home and that I shouldn’t leave. It was really complicated times, especially for my wife where I woke her up at 3am to talk about it!”