Antoine Griezmann’s arrival at Barcelona was met with contempt by Lionel Messi, according to the France forward’s former advisor.
Griezmann, 29, finally sealed a €120m move from Atletico Madrid in the summer of 2019. He penned a five-year contract and the Blaugrana immediately slapped an €800m buyout clause in his contract.
His arrival though was not met by a fanfare from Messi. In fact Griezmann’s former advisor Eric Olhats said the mercurial Argentinian’s attitude towards him was “deplorable”.
Olhats insists Messi, who almost left the Camp Nou in the summer, has too much influence in Catalonia. And believes he has only compounded Griezmann’s struggles in LaLiga.
Olhats told France Football: “Antoine arrived in a struggling club where Messi has a view on everything.
“He’s at the same time emperor and monarch, and he didn’t see Antoine’s arrival with a good eye.
“His attitude has been deplorable, he made him feel that. I’ve always heard Antoine say there’s no problem with Messi, but never the other way around.
‘Messi didn’t pass him the ball’
“In my eyes, Messi said he wanted to leave to see what role he still had as a decision-making player, regarding the players who arrived and those who left, but he eventually stayed. Classic Messi! As good on the pitch as he is bad off it
“Barcelona has been suffering for a while. There was a cancer in that club, and it obviously leaves some marks.”
Fifteen goals in his debut season was a solid enough start, but he failed to set the club alight. While this season he has netted just twice and Olhats says Messi made Griezmann’s life very difficult.
“It’s the club that’s sick, not him,” added Olhats.
“Last year, when Antoine arrived, Messi didn’t talk to him, didn’t pass him the ball. He created a real trauma for a more than negative adaptation.
“That clearly left its mark. It was clear and visible. Add to that the president stepping down, the club conceding eight against Bayern and three different managers, the conditions aren’t good.”