Antoine Griezmann never really hit the ground running in his early days at Barcelona. Brought in for £108 million to replace Neymar, who left for Paris Saint-Germain, the Frenchman failed to impress during his first season- labelled a flop by many.
The Catalan club believed they were buying a player fresh off the back of a 21 goal and ten assists season. When the package finally arrived, however, Griezmann was a shadow of what Barcelona had seen in the shop window. They had already splashed regretful cash on Philippe Coutinho, and it looked like they had done the same in the case of the former Atletico Madrid man for some time.
Some players just need time and opportunity, however. And Griezmann has received exactly that under Ronald Koeman this season, who is being rewarded as a result of that trust when Barcelona need Antoine Griezmann at his best the most.
The Frenchman, amid one of the greatest title races La Liga has ever witnessed, has found his goalscoring touch once more. And as each ball finds the back of the net, the tag ‘transfer flop’ continues to fade.
Antoine Griezmann Flop Label Quickly Fading Away
Finally Combining With Lionel Messi
As a Barcelona forward, the likelihood is that you’ll need approval from two people: The manager and Lionel Messi. Impress the manager and that ticks one box. Successfully build a partnership with Messi and your time at Barcelona will become a whole lot easier- as proven in the case of Antoine Griezmann.
At times during his Barcelona career, it looked as though the former Atletico man would never have what it takes to replace Luis Suarez or create that crucial bond with the aforementioned Argentinian. But silverware can do strange things to people.
All of a sudden, with the La Liga crown on the line, both Messi and Griezmann are playing like they’re best of friends; combining to make this season a success.
In fact, in the last ten games, the duo have scored a combined 19 goals with Messi netting 12 and Griezmann netting seven. In that period, Messi also has three assists whilst Griezmann has two- including one to strike partner Messi in a 3-2 win over Valencia to keep Barcelona’s title hopes alive.
The goal and assist against Valencia took Griezman’s goal involvement tally for the season to 31. That’s more than Luis Suarez and only two less than Mohamed Salah. That alone suggests that the so-called ‘flop’ has become anything but.
Atletico Madrid Next for Antoine Griezmann
By now, you’d like to think that Antoine Griezmann has won the faith of Koeman, Barcelona fans and Lionel Messi. But a win over Atletico Madrid would certify that faith. If Barcelona come away with the three points, they can go top of La Liga on goal difference with three games remaining.
The title race is the most exhilarating in Europe and Antoine Griezmann and Barcelona’s pursuit for silverware is far from over.
In a season where chaos has ensued on and off the pitch at the Nou Camp, a title win would be an extraordinary achievement.
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