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Atletico Madrid president breaks silence on Griezmann’s return

Antoine Griezmann, Atletico Madrid
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After Antoine Griezmann’s shock deadline day return to Atletico Madrid, Enrique Cerezo has opened up on what to expect.

Atletico Madrid president Enrique Cerezo accepts not all the club’s supporters will welcome Antoine Griezmann back with open arms, especially after his ‘strange’ exit two years ago.

Despite signing a new lucrative contract in 2018, Griezmann left for Barcelona a year later in a €120 million deal. The move was not well received in Spain. Atletico felt cheated, as the player agreed to a Camp Nou move before July 1, 2019 – when his release clause was €200m – but only did the transfer after that date, so Barcelona would save €80m on him.

Griezmann’s relationship with the Atletico Madrid fanbase suffered as a result. Some supporters defaced his plaque outside the Wanda Metropolitano, booed him, and strongly objected to his return earlier in the summer.

Nevertheless, Atletico re-signed their former star forward from Barcelona on a two-year loan deal in the final hours of this summer’s transfer window.

“I would understand, but what I want to say is that we are not going to gain anything with this,” Cerezo told Cadena SER about the fans’ feelings about Griezmann’s return.

“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.

“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.”

Griezmann managed 133 goals and 50 assists in 257 appearances during his first spell at Atletico between 2014-19. He won three trophies, including the Europa League and UEFA Super Cup.