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Griezmann whistles expected on Atletico Madrid return as club president reacts to shock deal with Barcelona

Griezmann whistles expected on Atletico Madrid return as club president reacts to shock deal with Barcelona

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Enrique Cerezo is delighted to have a familiar face back at Wanda Metropolitano, but concedes that some fans will need to be won over again

Atletico Madrid president Enrique Cerezo admits Antoine Griezmann is likely to be whistled by certain sections of the club’s support following his return from Barcelona, with the Frenchman needing to build bridges following a “strange” exit in 2019.

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After seeing a move to Camp Nou mooted for some time, the World Cup winner headed to Catalunya in a €120 million (£103m/$142m) deal.

The 30-year-old is now back in the Spanish capital on a two-year loan agreement that includes a mandatory €40m (£34m/$47m) purchase option, with the France international hoping to win over sceptics in Madrid and pick up where he left off with the reigning La Liga champions.

What has been said?

Cerezo is delighted to have a proven performer back, but accepts some supporters will need to be won over by a man who went chasing a dream in Catalunya that turned into something of a nightmare.

The Atletico president told Cadena SER: “I would understand, but what I want to say is that we are not going to gain anything with this. 

“When he left, all I said was that in Barcelona they wouldn’t love him the same as they do here. He left in a strange way, but he has shown that he was eager to return to Atletico Madrid.

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“There are fans who will not like it, but there are others who were delighted with his return and in the end the important thing is performance and having the best squad.”

How did the Griezmann deal happen?

Griezmann had seen his future at Barcelona speculated over after struggling to make the desired impact at Camp Nou, with 35 goals in 102 appearances.

Efforts to find a buyer were stepped up over the summer when financial struggles in Catalunya required a serious trimming of the Barca wage bill.

Atletico left it late with their deal pushed through minutes before the deadline passed, but Cerezo is pleased to have completed a transfer that came as a welcome surprise.

He added: “We are lucky to have Griezmann for the next two years. We did not count on Griezmann, but we did not know if Saul [who has joined Chelsea] was going to leave.”

Griezmann previously scored 133 goals for Atletico in 257 appearances, helping them to Europa League glory and a Champions League final across five seasons.

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