Diego Simeone wouldn’t discuss Thursday’s bombshell that Antoine Griezmann negotiated a hefty commission for signing with Barcelona while still at Atletico Madrid.
Griezmann ended a five-year stay with Simeone’s Atletico team in July by joining La Liga rivals Barcelona for €120m. The deal went through just 12 days after the Frenchman’s buy-out clause dropped from €200m.
While the transfer finally brought an end to doubts over Griezmann’s future, Atletico chiefs were far from happy. They have maintained their claims that the player and Barcelona struck an agreement before July.
Should this be true, then Simeone’s side will rightfully be entitled to another €80m from Barcelona.
Fueling the standoff between the Catalan club and Atletico was Spanish newspaper El Mundo claiming they’ve uncovered evidence that Griezmann negotiated a €14m signing-on fee in March.
For Simeone, though, he would rather just focus on his job ahead of Atletico’s La Liga clash with Celta Vigo this evening.
“I’m thinking about Celta, I’m not interested in anything else,” said the Argentine coach during Friday’s press conference.
“With all due respect to you, I understand the questions. But honestly, after playing on Wednesday we use the time to think about Celta.
“They have a reinforced team, the talent they have, the arrival of Rafinha, the presence of [Santi] Mina that creates an important attack. We are more focused on that.
“I understand your objective, but I’ve got mine.”
21-year-old Renan Lodi, meanwhile, has impressed greatly since completing his €20m transfer to Atletico in the summer.
The former Club Athletico Paranaense full-back has started in the club’s last three games, and won his first Brazil call-up on Friday.
“He has been doing a great job since the first day he arrived,” said Simeone.
“He has extraordinary attributes that will grow with work.
“Hopefully he can maintain this situation of wanting to improve and I’m happy he’s been selected by the national team.”
Atletico, who are second in La Liga, will begin their game against Celta at 18:30 (CET).