Barcelona 'disrespectful' in Antoine Greizmann pursuit, says Atletico Madrid
Bartomeu said Barcelona are in talks over the transfer of Griezmann and claims PSG will not sell Neymar
Last Updated: 19/07/19 7:17pm
Atletico Madrid have labelled Barcelona "disrespectful" over their pursuit of Antoine Greizmann in response to comments made by club president Josep Maria Bartomeu.
Atletico have ordered Griezmann to report for pre-season training despite him declaring two months ago he was leaving the club, and accused the France striker of showing them a lack of respect for negotiating a move to Barcelona.
They released a strongly-worded statement on their website on Friday after Bartomeu revealed the club's CEO had held a meeting with Atletico chief Miguel Angel Gil Marin over Griezmann.
They claimed that Griezmann and Barcelona had begun discussing a move to the Nou Camp in February and agreed a deal in March, in the middle of their Champions League last-16 tie with Juventus which they lost 3-2 on aggregate.
The statement read: "Following today's quotes from FC Barcelona president Josep María Bartomeu on our player Antoine Griezmann, Atlético de Madrid wishes to publicly declare that:
"On May 14, Antoine Griezmann informed Diego Simeone and Andrea Berta of his decision to leave our club at the end of the season. In the days that followed that meeting, Atlético de Madrid learned that FC Barcelona and the player had reached an agreement in March, specifically in the days following the return match of our Champions League tie against Juventus, and that they had been negotiating the terms of the agreement since mid-February.
"Regarding president Bartomeu's statement today we wish to state that it is true that yesterday there was a meeting between Miguel Ángel Gil and FC Barcelona CEO Oscar Grau, at Barcelona's request and that at that meeting, Mr Grau expressed his intention, once the release clause of Antoine Griezmann's contract had decreased from 200 to 120 million euros, to ask for a deferred payment of the aforementioned amount of the clause in force as from July 1.
"Atlético de Madrid's response was obviously negative, as we believe that FC Barcelona and the player have disrespected Atlético de Madrid and all its fans.
"As a consequence, today, Atletico de Madrid has instructed the player, his sister and agent and his lawyer, that Antoine Griezmann, in compliance with his contractual obligations with our club, must appear next Sunday in the club's facilities in order to start the pre-season with the rest of his teammates.
"Through this statement, Atletico de Madrid wishes to express its strongest disapproval of the behaviour of both, especially FC Barcelona, for prompting the player to break his contractual relationship with Atletico de Madrid at a time of the season when the club was involved in the Champions League tie against Juventus, as well as the league title race against FC Barcelona, something that we believe violates the protected periods of negotiation with players and alters the basic rules of integrity in any sporting competition, as well as causing enormous damage to our club and its millions of fans."
Bartomeu: Neymar wants PSG exit
Bartomeu also said PSG will not sell Neymar despite the Brazlian's desire to leave the Ligue 1 club for Barcelona.
Neymar, 27, completed a world record £200m move to the PSG in 2017, but has been touted for a return to the Spanish champions during this transfer window.
"We know that Neymar wants to leave PSG, but we also know that PSG do not want him to go," Bartomeu added.
La Liga president Javier Tebas recently commented that he did not want Neymar to return to Spanish football, due to his off-the-field behaviour in 2018/19 - in which he was banned from three 2019/20 Champions League games - and was involved in an altercation with a fan during the Coupe de France final.
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