Antoine Griezmann is set to leave Atletico Madrid in the summer after five years at the Spanish club. The 28-year-old was heavily linked to a move to La Liga champions Barcelona after leading France to the World Cup last summer, but he decided to stay. Atletico announced via their official Twitter that the French striker has now informed them of his decision to depart.
The AFP reported that the Twitter statement said Antoine Griezmann has told the club he will not continue as a “Rojiblanco” (red and white, the club's colours) next season.
Not long after the tweet Griezmann posted a video in which the AFP reported that the French 2018 World Cup winner said, "I wanted to tell you I have taken the decision to leave".
"I have had five wonderful seasons here and you will always be in my heart," said the affable forward known for doing dances from the video game Fortnite, when celebrating his goals. "The truth is it has been difficult to take this route, but it is what I feel I need, and I would like to thank all of you for the love you have shown me during these five years."
Griezmann has developed into one of the best strikers in the world since joining Atletico in 2014. He has scored 133 goals in 256 appearances and led the club to the Europa League title in 2018 after scoring a brace in the 3-0 win in the final against Marseille.
He finished third in the Ballon d'Or in 2016 behind Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. After winning the World Cup in 2018, he again finished third in the Ballon d’Or as he cemented his place as one most respected player’s in the game. Atletico reported Barcelona to FIFA in December 2017 over an alleged illegal approach for Griezmann. But the Catalans are now favourite for his signature. It’s expected that they will pay the buyout clause of 120m euros in the striker’s contract