Griezmann completes Atletico Madrid return from Barcelona

Nicholas Hughes
Antoine Griezmann is heading back to Atletico Madrid from Barcelona

Antoine Griezmann has completed a return to Atletico Madrid, leaving Barcelona on an initial loan deal with an obligation to buy for €40 million into next season.

The 30-year-old leaves after making 102 appearances for Barcelona, throughout which he contributed 35 goals, 16 assists and a Copa Del Rey success.

The deal was confirmed in the early hours of Wednesday local time.

A statement from Barcelona read: "FC Barcelona and Atlético Madrid have reached an agreement for the loan of Antoine Griezmann for a season with the option of a further season. The Madrid club will pay the player's wages and there is a compulsory permanent transfer clause.

"FC Barcelona would like to thank Antoine Griezmann for his commitment and dedication and wishes him all the best for the future."

Griezmann joined in 2019 in a €120m move, putting to an end a transfer saga that had gone on across multiple summer windows.

Atletico had tried desperately to hold onto him, but his release clause was met and his heart was set on the move, which angered the Atleti faithful.

But the fans at Estadio Metropolitano will welcome back their former hero after just two years away, adding further depth to Diego Simeone’s side.

Griezmann was outstanding in his five previous seasons for Atletico, where he signed from Real Sociedad in 2014, with 133 goals and 50 assists in 257 games.

A 22-goal, four-assist season in 2015/16 followed by a runners-up medal at Euro 2016 landed Griezmann a third-placed finish in the Ballon d’Or at the end of the year.

He would finish third again in 2018 after becoming a World Cup winner before sealing his move to Barca a year later.

Arriving as a 23-year-old, Griezmann developed into one of the world’s top attacking players during his time at Atleti, and Simeone will hope to see that form return in his second spell at the club.

Atletico are coming off a La Liga title-winning season, with Griezmann joining an attack already filled with talent, including Luis Suarez, Joao Felix and another new signing in Matheus Cunha.

Griezmann is preparing for World Cup qualifiers with France and will link up with his new teammates after the international break.