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Griezmann focused on football as transfer fee row rumbles on

The France forward joined Barcelona for £107.6million but Atletico Madrid are seeking a higher fee.

Antoine Griezmann is Barcelona’s biggest pre-season signing so far (Emilio Morenatti/AP)
Antoine Griezmann is Barcelona’s biggest pre-season signing so far (Emilio Morenatti/AP)

Antoine Griezmann intends to stay calm and focused on making the most of a new start at Barcelona as the fall-out from his transfer from Atletico Madrid rumbles on.

Atletico look set to pursue Barca for an additional 80million euros (£71.7million) after claiming the 120m euros (£107.6m) received for the France forward is “insufficient” to cover the player’s buyout clause.

Griezmann has signed a five-year contract with the LaLiga champions, but Atletico have “initiated procedures” with a view to receiving a higher fee because they believe the transfer was agreed before the 28-year-old’s buyout clause was reduced from 200m euros (£179.3m) on July 1.

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Highest transfer fees of all time. See story SOCCER Barcelona. Infographic by PA Graphics

The 2018 World Cup winner looks set to feature for Barcelona in their friendly against Chelsea in Japan on Tuesday.

Despite the row over his transfer rumbling on back in Spain, Griezmann will stay focused on the job in hand.

“I did it in the best way I possibly could – with El Cholo (Atletico manager Diego Simeone), my team-mates and the fans. I wanted it to all turn out well, everything else is their side of things,” Griezmann said at a press conference in Japan when asked about his exit from the Wanda Metropolitano.

“I’ve heard something about it (legal challenge), but it’s not something I want to dwell on.

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Griezmann paid tribute to Diego Simeone, left (Nick Potts/PA)

“I gave everything I had at Atletico – it was my home for many years. I’m relaxed about it,” Griezmann said, as reported by Spanish media outlet AS.

The forward, though, stressed his relationship with Simeone remained “excellent”.

Griezmann added: “For me, he was always more than just a coach.

“Our wives are friends, our kids too. He has been a very important person in my life – both on the sporting side and personally.”

Barcelona have been linked with a move to bring Neymar back to the club from Paris St Germain.

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Neymar is still linked with a possible return to Barca (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Griezmann, though, refused to be drawn on the current transfer rumours.

“He is a very great player. He has had significant injuries, but he keeps an incredible level,” the France international added.

“Many things can happen, but we also have (Ousmane) Dembele, (Philippe) Coutinho and Malcom. We want them to be confident and we hope to achieve all of our goals with them.”

Griezmann revealed his new Barcelona team-mates did not take it easy as they stepped up pre-season.

“To be honest, I didn’t have a very good start because I got nutmegged twice in my first training session – (Ivan) Rakitic did one of them,” he said.

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Antoine Griezmann suffered some embarrassing moments in his first training session (Eugene Hoshiko/AP)

“Luckily I’ve learned my lesson. As for the phonecalls, (Lionel) Messi still hasn’t called me but (Luis) Suarez has. (He) congratulated me and welcomed me on board.”

Looking ahead to the chance to feature against Chelsea, the France forward said: “These will be my first minutes in this shirt and I am very keen to play with my new team-mates.

“I want to enjoy myself with this squad, both on and off the pitch.”

PA

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