In a statement, Barca revealed they had paid the 120 million euros to activate the Frenchman’s release clause, adding he would sign a five-year deal that included a “buyout clause of 800 million euros”.
However, within minutes of Barcelona’s announcement, Atletico said they believed “the amount paid is insufficient to meet the release clause as it is obvious that the agreement between the player and Barcelona had been concluded before the release clause dropped from 200 million euros to 120 million euros” at the start of the month.
They said Griezmann had gone to the headquarters of Spanish Football League (LFP) to “unilaterally” break his contract after Barca met the release clause, and added they had already “begun appropriate procedures” to defend their “rights and legitimate interests”.
The announcement was the latest episode in a spat between the two clubs and Griezmann after the 28-year-old failed to show up for Atletico’s pre-season gathering on Sunday following his announcement in May he would be leaving for an unnamed destination — long-suspected to be Barcelona.
Griezmann almost signed for Barca 12 months ago, but instead opted to remain at Atletico, announcing his choice to stay in a documentary called “The Decision”.
“When I was a boy, my dad taught me that trains don’t come around just once,” Griezmann said in a video posted on the Barcelona website on Friday.
“Now it’s time to take on the challenge of a new destination.
“Finally, our paths cross. I’ll defend the Barca colours with all my determination and commitment. It’s our time. This is our path.”