Antoine Griezmann did not show up at the time indicated by Atlético to start the preseason, this Sunday at 20.30. Fans and reporters gathered at the gates of the Cerro del Espino training center did not see him appear. There were no traces of his Rolls Royce Wraith bathed in silvery white, nor his McLaren 675LT, nor his Maserati Gran Turismo, mechanical heralds of the best player in the squad. The club admitted that Griezmann sent a message announcing that he would pay the 120 million euro termination clause that would free him from his contract, but the notice, until the money is deposited at the headquarters of LaLiga, has no legal effect. According to Atlético, mere communication does not exempt any of the parties from fulfilling their obligations.
Atletico is still obliged to pay Griezmann his annual salary of 20 million euros net – a record in the history of rojiblanca – and the player is still obliged to provide his services training and competing on the orders of the coaching staff. Diego Simeone, the coach, summoned him this Sunday along with Oblak, João Félix and Thomas Lemar in the second start of the summer preseason, corresponding to the players who had had commitments with their teams in the first week of June. The rest had started work on Thursday. In the absence of Griezmann, only Santiago Arias and José María Giménez, who ended their participation in the Copa América a week ago, remain on vacation.
The lawyers of Griezmann indicate that the player has complied with a formalism that exempts him from the duty of going to training. Atlético replies that there are no regulations that support this position and that, therefore, the conditions are available to open a file for serious breach of contract. Officially, the 28-year-old player is in a situation of rebellion. He breaks with his professional duties unilaterally two days after the president of Barcelona, Josep Maria Bartomeu, communicated in a press conference that he had initiated contacts with Atlético to close his transfer. "We are interested in Griezmann," said Bartomeu, noting that its executive director, Óscar Grau, had met with the Atletico's CEO, Miguel Ángel Gil Marín.
With a contract until 2023
The sources consulted in the Athletic one assure that the official position of the club is simple. Griezmann has a contract until 2023, they warn, Atlético does not want to negotiate his sale because he has him, and they have only asked him to clarify his future in order to anticipate solutions in the transfer market. Barca also called Atletico for the first time interested in Griezmann on Thursday, July 4 and did, fundamentally, to ask if they accepted a postponement in the payment of 120 million euros of its termination clause. They say in the Athletic that this indicates a contempt.
Gil Marín warned a month ago that Griezmann had signed a pre-contract with Barça. This circumstance, if it occurs, contravenes the FIFA rules that prohibit clubs from negotiating with players with a valid contract with other clubs until the last six months of their relationship. Barça, which has been pursuing the signing of the French for years, argues that there is no evidence of such a pre-contract and is in line with its right to pay the clause, reduced from July 1, 200 to 120 million euros.
In tune with the times and with the telegenia of the protagonist, the outcome has followed a videographic course. On June 14, 2018, Griezmann broadcast a video produced by Gerard Piqué in which he acknowledged having seriously evaluated his transfer of Atlético to Barça before deciding to stay in Wanda. On May 14, after announcing his decision to Gil Marín and Simeone, the playmaker re-issued a video in which he appeared disheveled against a white stone wall in front of the camera to reveal his desire: "I have made the decision to Go, see other things and have other challenges. It has cost me to take that road but it is what I feel I need. "
Last Friday, before Bartomeu's evident recognition of his interest in Griezmann, Atlético issued one of the most bellicose statements that are remembered among LaLiga members denouncing Barça for negotiating with Griezmann since February: "Atlético de Madrid wants to express its most energetic rejection by the behavior of both, especially Barcelona for having induced the player to break his contractual relationship with Atletico Madrid at a time of the season where the club was playing, not only the elimination of Champions against Juventus , but the League title against FC Barcelona itself ".
Diego Simeone met the Atlético squad yesterday to embark her on the bus that would take her to Los Angeles from San Rafael to start the preseason. The town of Segovia, where the Gil family has a hotel with a complex of football fields, is the cabalistic enclave of Simeone. In the summer concentrations of San Rafael the most successful seasons of The cholo. After the 2018 experiment in the Alps the coaching staff wants to return to the magic routine.