Atletico have reached a deal with Barcelona to keep Antoine Griezmann

Atletico have reached a deal with Barcelona to keep Antoine Griezmann

MADRID (AP) — Atletico Madrid reached an agreement Monday with Barcelona to sign Antoine Griezmann In a permanent transfer, freeing the France international to play more minutes.

Atletico said Griezmann has signed a contract with the club until June 2026. He was in the final season of his two-year loan from Barcelona. The Catalan club said they would receive 20 million euros ($19.4 million) for the transfer, with variables that could reach another 4 million euros ($3.8 million).

The teams have been in a contract dispute that has limited the 31-year-old forward’s opportunities for Atletico, who will reportedly pay Barcelona 40 million euros ($38.8 million) if his playing time exceeds a certain number of minutes. .

Atletico coach Diego Simeone has used the forward as a substitute after the 60-minute mark in most games this season.

Griezmann has scored three goals – including a crucial late winner against Porto in the Champions League – and has two assists so far.

“Happy to be where I want to be. Thanks to everyone,” Griezmann wrote on Twitter.

Barcelona president Juan Laporta said the deal with Atlético was crucial for his club as it prevented Griezmann from paying a higher salary if he were to return from loan. Barcelona are working hard to reduce their players’ wages and meet the Spanish league’s strict financial fair play rules.

Winning the World Cup with France four years ago, Griezmann starred at Atletico from 2014-19 before moving to Barcelona for what were two largely disappointing seasons.

He is set to make the squad for this year’s World Cup in France, and is likely to play more minutes at the tournament in Qatar in November if a deal with Barcelona is not done.

Griezmann is expected to fight for a starting position in a France attack that will be led by Paris Saint-Germain striker Kylian Mbappe and Real Madrid forward Karim Benzema.

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