Antoine Griezmann says he was ‘greatly pissed off’ at the end of last season before re-committing to Atletico Madrid.
The France forward seemed most likely to move to Barcelona in the summer, when he announced his next move via a cringeworthy TV show.
The 27-year-old opted to extend his four-year stay with Europa League winners Atletico – a decision which prompted Catalan-based paper Sport to run with the headline “bochorno”, which translates as “embarrassment” or “shameful”.
“I didn’t stay at Atleti for that reason as money is not the most important driving force for me. I stayed at a place where I was greatly appreciated and loved by many,” Griezmann told AS.
“It pissed me off greatly what unfolded at the last game of the season at the Wanda Metropolitano (he was booed by fans) and I’ve seen the footage.
“I can also see this from the fans point of view as so much speculation was generated. I didn’t speak in public on the matter as I wanted to concentrate on the season and the thing blew out of context.
“It was a learning lesson for me but if I wanted to earn more money, then China would have been my destination. I’m more than happy at Atlético. I have a coach who appreciates my work and a great bunch of team-mates too. I also count on the excellent Atleti supporters who were right behind me from the first day of the new season.”
Griezmann has started the season in decent form for Atletico with one goal and two assists and he believes he is at the same level as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
“Yes, I believe so. I know other players are emerging and I am conscious that I can improve my game too. This is a driving force for me, improve, win more and keep winning by playing in the manner we play,” said Griezmann when asked whether he sits at the top table.
The Macon-born forward though knows he has areas to improve in.
“By reading the game better, especially in an attacking dynamic. Improve my passing game. I know I can score more goals and be a better passer of the ball and help out more in defensive duties. It’s a desire to improve and a thirst to work harder in order that drives me on.”
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