Barcelona president chides departed forward with two-pronged criticism

Barcelona team-mates Antoine Griezmann and Lionel Messi during a La Liga match in 2021

Barcelona president Joan Laporta vented his frustration with a departed forward, claiming he was “not the player we needed.”

The La Liga giant presided over one of their most tumultuous transfer windows in recent memory. Amid massive debts that mounted higher and higher with each passing day, Barcelona set about slashing a large portion of their squad to wrest their inflated wage bill under control.

Playing casualties were plentiful, most notably the free agent departure of global superstar Lionel Messi. Ronald Koeman’s forward line took another hit by way of Antoine Griezmann’s return to Atletico Madrid.

The Frenchman set lofty standards when playing under Diego Simeone, though failed to replicate them at the Camp Nou. As such, Barcelona earmarked him as a priority target to offload.

Atletico came calling and re-signed the Frenchman initially one one-year loan deal. Atletico have since confirmed that either party can extend the temporary stay into a second season. An obligation to buy Griezmann for around £42.9m is also speculated to be present in the deal.

In essence, Griezmann has seemingly played his final game in a Barcelona shirt. And if club president Joan Laporta’s comments are anything to go by, Barcelona are thrilled at that result.

While acknowledging Griezmann never lacked for effort, Laporta revealed they “expected more” from the forward who “wasn’t the player they needed.”

Antoine Griezmann of FC Barcelona during the La Liga match against Getafe

“I think that everyone was expecting more from him, because he gave everything and didn’t have a questionable attitude,” Laporta told Spanish TV station Onze (via the Daily Mail).

“We know what kind of player he was and is, he’s a great player. I think he didn’t fit in our system, but I think he showed a very good attitude. I sent him a message wishing him well, because he’s always had the correct attitude.

“In footballing terms he wasn’t the player we needed. He scored goals. I think the one he scored in last year’s Copa del Rey that we won was very important.

“It’s true that he could have given more. But he was under difficult circumstances.”

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Meanwhile, Tottenham Hotspur new boy Emerson Royal is not happy with former club Barcelona after claiming he didn’t have a choice about his transfer.

Emerson was Tottenham’s last signing of a busy summer, in which they also acquired the likes of Cristian Romero, Pierluigi Gollini and Bryan Gil. The right-back arrived to replace Serge Aurier, whose contract was terminated by mutual consent.

It was something of a surprise for Emerson, who only made his first Barcelona start two days earlier. They originally worked together with Real Betis to bring him to Spain in 2019, before buying out his contract this summer.

He told Marca: “The ways of Barca hurt me. They could have been otherwise. There were better ways to fix things. They were telling me that I had to go, yes or yes.

“When I arrived I was sure that Barcelona did not want to sell me. But seeing what (happened) in the past it is clear to me that when they signed me they already had the idea of ​​selling me in mind. “I thought the club wanted me to stay.”

Royal went on to explain how his transfer to North London went down step by step.

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