Diego Simeone holds no hard feelings towards Antoine Griezmann despite his controversial departure from Atletico Madrid for La Liga rivals Barcelona.
Griezmann’s summer exit for Barcelona has left Atletico chiefs feeling bitter as the transfer occurred just 12 days after his buy-out clause fell from €200m to €120m instead.
Los Colchoneros have, therefore, lost out on €80m and are furious about it. Although they’ve now formally launched a complaint to La Liga over the transfer as they’ve got proof it was agreed on in mid-February.
While the Atletico chiefs and supporters alike remain furious over the Griezmann saga, however, Simeone remains grateful to his former star player.
“I really value what Griezmann did in his five years with us,” the Atletico boss told TyC Sports.
“This is an important moment in his career and he is going to an extraordinary club in Barcelona. I spoke a lot with him and I am grateful for those who have played with us.
“When he arrived he played out wide and he came for 25 million euros.
“I told him he had to play in the middle and score more, which he understood and which he did.
“As a coach, I am happy with how he did. I love him a lot. I have a great relationship with him and his family.
“If he keeps up his rhythm then he’ll have a good season this year.”
Despite the looming court drama to take place between Barcelona and Atletico, Griezmann has begun pre-season training with his new team and could debut in Japan on Tuesday against Chelsea.
The French World Cup winner will then likely make his first La Liga appearance for Barcelona on August 16 in the club’s opening game at Athletic Bilbao.