Antoine Griezmann has confirmed that he will remain at Atletico Madrid next season despite being heavily linked with a summer switch to Barcelona.
The French striker has been teasing his future for several months and made the rather bizarre choice of filming his decision with Spanish TV station Movistar – even recording two separate versions for if he stays or goes.
The build-up to Thursday night’s unusual show had plenty of people tuning in, with Barca centre-back Gerard Pique tweeting that he was looking forward to watching it alongside a popcorn emoji.
However, Pique’s hopes of lining up alongside Griezmann next season were dashed when the Frenchman confirmed that he would remain at Atletico.
‘I have decided to stay,’ he finally proclaimed at the end of the mini documentary.
‘Atletico are doing everything they can to keep the team growing, it’s amazing, they’re making a lot of efforts, I cannot stand it, I need to tell people that I want to stay.’
Mi afición, mi equipo, MI CASA! @atleti 🔴⚪🔴
Mes supporters, mon équipe, MA MAISON ! @AtletiFR 🔴⚪🔴
— Antoine Griezmann (@AntoGriezmann) June 14, 2018
The show documented Griezmann’s thought process from as far back as April, with Atletico offering him more money but Barcelona providing a better shot at silverware.
He wanted assurances over Atleti’s ambition in the transfer market, though felt it would be easier to win the title with Barca, and he seemed deeply affected when he was booed in the final La Liga match of the season despite a man-of-the-match display in the Europa League final just a few days earlier.
‘We’re missing something,’ he mused. ‘We always come second or third. It isn’t bad luck, we are just lacking something. I’m sure there are plenty of players at clubs below the elite that feel this way.’
His words appeared to have the desired effect, with Atletico striking an agreement for Monaco star – and compatriot – Thomas Lemar, while Djibril Sidibe is also expected to move to Madrid.
Griezmann, a huge fan of basketball, appears to have taken inspiration from LeBron James’ infamous [i]The Decision[/i] TV special, in which he decided to leave hometown side Cleveland Cavaliers for the Miami Heat.
However, the timing of the announcement – just two days before France kick-off their World Cup campaign against Australia on Saturday – has been widely criticised by fans and pundits even though he has elected to stay at Atletico.