Antoine Griezmann said he cried tears of joy after his transfer to LaLiga champions Barcelona was finalised.

Griezmann left Atletico Madrid for Barca after the Spanish giants triggered the French World Cup winner's €120million release clause.

The transfer ended months of speculation following Griezmann's announcement that he was departing Atletico after five years.

Reflecting on his move to Barca, Griezmann told Marca: "I called my father and I started to cry with happiness because I was there, everything was done.

"I was with my friends, my wife and my children and it was an incredible moment."

"I just wanted to end my holiday and start this new challenge," he said. "The dressing room have welcomed me very well: players, coaching staff and doctors.

"For the moment, I'm enjoying it and let's hope I can get enough confidence to speak, be myself and enjoy."

Griezmann will link up with Barca superstar and five-time Ballon d'Or winner Lionel Messi at Camp Nou.

Messi led the way for Barca in 2018-19, scoring 51 goals in all competitions as Ernesto Valverde's side retained their LaLiga crown ahead of Griezmann's Atletico.

"It will be amazing [to play alongside him]," Griezmann added. "I'm excited to see what he's like day to day, what he's like in training, [I want to] catch him doing things in training that I will try to repeat or do in my own way and get to know him on and off the pitch.

"I can't wait for him to arrive. I will be ready to do whatever it takes: for him, for the club and for the players."

Paris Saint-Germain have not received a "concrete offer" for Neymar, the club's sporting director Leonardo said.

The Brazilian forward has been heavily linked with a move away from the Ligue 1 champions during the close season, with his former club Barcelona looking the most likely destination.

Neymar has yet to feature for PSG so far during pre-season and was again absent as Thomas Tuchel's side laboured to a 1-1 draw with Nurnberg on Saturday.

Leonardo has previously said the 27-year-old can leave for the right price, but he told reporters after the game in Germany that no offers have been tabled for him.

"Honestly, there is nothing different from the last time we talked," he said, according to Le Parisien. "Nothing at all.

"It has not moved. There is no concrete offer for Neymar, he is with us. He is a player for Paris Saint-Germain.

"I repeat, there is no concrete offer. It's been the same situation for 10 days."

Tuchel refused to be drawn on where Neymar's future lies, two years after becoming a world-record buy, insisting he remains part of the French club's squad.

"The situation between Neymar and me is clear; it's now something between him and the club," the PSG boss said.

"He is part of the dressing room and will train with us tomorrow."

Barcelona sporting director Eric Abidal has denied talks were opened with Antoine Griezmann in March, as has been claimed by Atletico Madrid.

Griezmann completed his long-awaited switch to Camp Nou last week and is expected to make his Barca debut on their pre-season tour of Japan.

Barca paid €120m for Griezmann but Atletico argue the fee they received should have been €200m as they claim the Catalan club were in talks with the striker before his release clause fell on July 1.

Griezmann announced his intention to leave Atletico in a social media video posted before the end of the LaLiga season, but the Rojiblancos say his move to Barca had been agreed some weeks earlier.

Reports in Spain have claimed the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) has opened proceedings against Barcelona over the club's move for Griezmann but, in an interview with Le Parisien, Abidal said the move for the France forward was above board.

He said: "The president [Josep Maria] Bartomeu got in touch with Atletico Madrid to discuss the terms of a transfer for Griezmann and to inform them, if negotiations weren't possible, that Barca would pay his €120m buyout clause. It was €200m in March and €120m in July..

"Atletico are defending their interests and we are defending Barca's. We never had a prior agreement with the player. We got in contact with his lawyer after Griezmann announced he wanted to leave the club.

"We can always talk about interest. We can like a player because our sporting department says they'd fit the profile of what we are looking for. But this interest only became concrete when the player expressed his wish to join Barca.

"He was a very important player for Atletico Madrid. He can make a difference in the big matches and is capable of playing in various positions. He's still a great goalscorer and Barca need players like him."

Despite adding Griezmann to a forward line already containing Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, Ousmane Dembele, Malcom and Philippe Coutinho, Barca have been linked with making a sensational move for Neymar.

Paris Saint-Germain sporting director Leonardo has confirmed the Brazil forward wants to leave the French capital with a return to Camp Nou two years after his world-record move said to be Neymar's preferred option.

Barca are reported to have offered PSG a choice of six players - including Coutinho, Dembele and Malcom - as makeweights but Abidal suggested the club's work in the transfer market could be complete.

"We needed six attacking players and, with Griezmann, we have those six," he added. "After that, it's the coach [Ernesto Valverde] who makes the decisions."

Messi is reportedly pushing for Neymar's return with the Barca captain said to be underwhelmed by Griezmann's arrival.

"That isn't Messi's role," Abidal added. "If he gives his opinion on someone who players for another team, it's disrespectful to his current team-mates. I believe that's why Leo didn't want to talk about Antoine."

New Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong has welcomed speculation that Neymar could make a dramatic return to the LaLiga champions.

De Jong, 22, was signed by Barca from Ajax in January for a reported €75million, but only made the move at the end of the season.

Neymar has reportedly told Paris Saint-Germain that he wants to leave the club during the close season, two years after his world-record €222million transfer from Barca.

The Catalan club appear to be keen on bringing the Brazilian superstar back to Camp Nou and De Jong says he would relish the opportunity to play alongside him.

"Of course I would like to play with Neymar," he told Sport. "I think he's a really good player but it isn't up to me to decide if he comes to Barcelona or not."

De Jong will be tasked with supplying a mouth-watering attack in the 2019-20 season, led by Lionel Messi, and the Netherlands international is looking forward to teaming up with a player he considers to be the very best.

"I think he's the best player in the world," he said. "I'm looking forward to playing with all the guys, not only with Messi."

Barca were linked with a move for De Jong's former Ajax team-mate, Matthijs de Ligt, but the 19-year-old opted to join Serie A champions Juventus.

De Jong says he would have loved De Ligt to have joined him at Barca but believes he has made a positive move.

Asked if he was disappointed by De Ligt's decision, De Jong said: "No, I'm not disappointed. Not at all. Of course, I'd be happier if he had decided to join Barcelona, but it's his decision and he made it with his family, his agent and girlfriend.

"I'm happy for him. He's made a great move. I would rather see him at Barcelona but Juventus is a good move for him."

Ousmane Dembele, Samuel Umtiti and Ivan Rakitic have all been included in Barcelona's pre-season tour squad despite speculation they have been offered to Paris Saint-Germain.

The trio, as well as Malcom and Nelson Semedo, will head to Japan although reports have claimed they are among six Barca players who could be makeweights in a deal to bring Neymar back to Camp Nou.

Philippe Coutinho, the sixth member of the group, is not included in a squad of 26 players named by Ernesto Valverde as he remains on holiday following the Copa America.

Lionel Messi is absent for the same reason, as are Uruguay striker Luis Suarez and Brazil midfielder Arthur, but Antoine Griezmann could make his Barca debut along with fellow new arrival Frenkie de Jong.

Neymar, meanwhile, is not in PSG's squad for Saturday's pre-season game against Nurnberg despite the forward saying he is almost 100 per cent fit after missing the Copa America due to an ankle injury.

PSG said the club will "take appropriate action" against the Brazil star after he failed to report to pre-season training on time, although Neymar's father said the Ligue 1 champions knew when he would be arriving.

Barca's first pre-season game ahead of the 2019-20 campaign is against Premier League side Chelsea in the Rakuten Cup on Tuesday.

Three days later, Barcelona face a reunion with former players David Villa and Andres Iniesta when they take on Japanese side Vissel Kobe.

The defending LaLiga champions will then kick off the new league season away to Athletic Bilbao on August 16.

Diego Simeone has expressed gratitude to Antoine Griezmann for gracing Atletico Madrid with five "faultless" seasons.

Griezmann left the club for Barcelona just over a week ago, a move that upset many at the Wanda Metropolitano.

Atletico claim the LaLiga champions still owe an additional €80million, believing Barca to have privately agreed terms with the France international before his release clause dropped from €200m to €120m on July 1.

The sense of resentment is not shared by Rojiblancos boss Simeone, who holds no ill will towards the player he signed from Real Sociedad in 2014.

"I talked with him a lot," Simeone told TyC Sports. "It's an important moment in his career in which he decided to move to an extraordinary team like Barcelona.

"I am grateful to the people who have been with us. People are normally valued for the final decision, but not by me. I value the five years he gave us that were faultless.

"He gave his best, he improved as a player and he listened to us. He makes me happy as a coach.

"I love him very much and I have a great relationship with the family.

"Obviously he's going to a very strong team and surely if he maintains the rhythm of when he was among the best he will have a great season."

Griezmann won the Europa League and secured two third-place finishes in the Ballon d'Or under Simeone's guidance.

The mutual respect between the pair has shone through amid the tension between Griezmann and his former employers. 

"I am lucky to have learned from Cholo Simeone," the World Cup winner said in the wake of his move to Barca.

Neymar has not been named in Paris Saint-Germain's squad to face Nurnberg in a friendly in Germany on Saturday.

In a statement published to the club's website, PSG listed "training" as the reason for the star's absence from the 23-man group.

Brazil forward Neymar commenced pre-season work with the Ligue 1 champions earlier this week amid intense transfer speculation.

The 27-year-old was not involved in PSG's midweek win over Dynamo Dresden and has not featured at any level since sustaining ankle-ligament damage while on international duty against Qatar last month.

He recently claimed to be back at "almost 100 per cent" after being forced to miss the Copa America.

Neymar's future remains unclear as he continues to push for a return to Barcelona, plans PSG boss Thomas Tuchel admitted to knowing before the Copa America.

The Ligue 1 champions are scheduled to fly to China on Tuesday for friendlies against Serie A side Inter and A-League outfit Sydney FC.

They will remain in the country to face fellow French club Rennes in the Trophee des Champions, their first competitive commitment of the new season.

The Neymar saga has dominated the narrative at Paris Saint-Germain in recent days, with his future yet to be settled.

But the Ligue 1 champions still have moves to make themselves in the remaining weeks of the transfer market.

And PSG might back themselves to tempt an out-of-favour Juventus star to make the switch to France.

 

TOP STORY – PSG MAKE APPROACH FOR DYBALA

If Neymar does leave Paris, Paulo Dybala would represent a fine replacement. He is an option, according to RMC Sport.

It is reported PSG have approached Dybala's camp, with any deal quite separate from Neymar's future.

A fee of less than €50million could be enough to see Juventus sell, with Dybala no longer a vital cog following Cristiano Ronaldo's arrival last year.

 

ROUND-UP

- Dybala might not be the only Juventus player heading to Ligue 1, though. Le Parisien have reported PSG interest in Blaise Matuidi, who Sky Sport Italia say is also a target for Monaco.

- Further movement in Serie A could see Suso heading off. According to Calcio Mercato, the AC Milan star is a target for Roma. The Rossoneri will ask for close to €40m despite the midfielder appearing to be out of favour.

- Working rather harder to keep a key man are Tottenham. They will offer Christian Eriksen £200,000 a week to keep Real Madrid at bay, according to the Daily Mail.

- With Laurent Koscielny's future at Arsenal uncertain, Unai Emery's captaincy group will look quite different next season. According to the Mail, Rob Holding or Calum Chambers could be in line to be skipper.

- Their London neighbours Chelsea, meanwhile, are set to temporarily part ways with Ethan Ampadu. The teenager is on the brink of joining RB Leipzig on loan, according to the Guardian, and could be joined at the Bundesliga club by Ademola Lookman of Everton.

- But as one young prospect arrives in Germany, another might be on the way out. Bild say Barcelona are keen on Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Kai Havertz, who is also said to be in the sights of Bayern Munich and Liverpool.

Victor Valdes has returned to Barcelona to become head coach of the club's premier under-19 side.

The homegrown Blaugrana great and retired goalkeeper replaces Denis Silva on an initial one-year deal, which Barcelona announced includes an option for a second season.

Valdes, 37, made 539 competitive appearances for the LaLiga giants after debuting in 2002.

He left the club after rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament in 2014 and went on to have brief spells at Manchester United, Standard Liege and Middlesbrough, before moving into coaching at Madrid-based Moratalaz last season.

Valdes, who also won 20 caps for Spain, is scheduled to begin pre-season work with his new side on July 29, ahead of a friendly against Ajax's youth team on August 27.

Barca boast a proud history of appointing former players to coaching positions – Pep Guardiola, Luis Enrique and incumbent Ernesto Valverde are among those to have won trophies after returning to lead the first team in recent times.

Maybe Juventus are not ready to give up on signing Manchester United star Paul Pogba just yet.

Pogba, 26, has been linked with a return to Turin and a move to Real Madrid as he looks for an Old Trafford exit.

But, just as it looked like Juve were struggling and Madrid was the midfielder's most likely destination, that may have changed.

 

TOP STORY – JUVE TO OFFER THREE PLAYERS IN MOVE FOR POGBA

Juventus could offer a fee plus three players in their move for Manchester United star Pogba, according to Corriere dello Sport.

Full-back Joao Cancelo, attacker Douglas Costa and midfielder Blaise Matuidi are the players mentioned for potential moves in the report.

Meanwhile, ESPN FC report Real Madrid president Florentino Perez has told coach Zinedine Zidane that it will be very difficult to sign Pogba this close season.

 

ROUND-UP

- Barcelona are still trying to find a way to bring Neymar back to Camp Nou from Paris Saint-Germain. According to Sky Germany, Barca are offering €100million plus two players, having given PSG a list of six that includes Philippe Coutinho, Ousmane Dembele, Ivan Rakitic, Nelson Semedo and Malcom. That is up from the earlier offer of €40m plus two players. According to Sport, Barca have made Coutinho and Rakitic priorities to be sold.

- After being linked to Bayern Munich, Callum Hudson-Odoi is set to re-sign with Chelsea. The Daily Mail report the 18-year-old England international will sign a five-year deal worth more than £100,000 per week to stay at Stamford Bridge.

- Giovani Lo Celso apparently wants to join Tottenham, but Spurs are unwilling to meet Real Betis' £60m (€66.8m) asking price, according to The Sun, who say Erik Lamela could be added into a deal. Danny Rose could also reportedly leave Spurs and Sky Sports say PSG are interested in the left-back.

- Arsenal have beaten their north London rivals to the signing of Saint-Etienne defender William Saliba, according to ESPN FC. Arsenal will complete the signing of Saliba for £26.9m (€30m) and loan him back to the Ligue 1 club despite late interest from Spurs, the report says.

- Another reported Arsenal target, Wilfried Zaha, has told Crystal Palace he wants to leave, according to The Sun. Arsenal have reportedly had a £40m bid for the attacker rejected.

- Bayern Munich are ready to meet Celta Vigo midfielder Brais Mendez's €25m release clause, according to Kicker. Mendez, 22, was handed a Spain debut late last year and scored six goals while providing seven assists for Celta in LaLiga in 2018-19.

It's said you should never go back to your ex but Barcelona and Neymar could be a re-marriage made in heaven.

Barcelona have loaned Marc Cucurella to Getafe only two days after signing him back from Eibar.

Cucurella caught the eye in his loan spell with Eibar last season and scored in a 2-2 LaLiga draw with Barca in May.

Eibar took up the option to sign him for €2million but Barca inserted a €4m buy-back clause in that deal, which they activated on Tuesday.

Cucurella, who can play as a full-back and a winger, had been linked with Sevilla, Real Betis and Bundesliga clubs Eintracht Frankfurt and Borussia Monchengladbach.

But he will be playing his football for Getafe in 2019-20 after they agreed a temporary deal with the option to make it a permanent one.

Cucurella made 31 LaLiga appearances for Eibar last term, scoring once.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport has rejected the Palestine Football Association president's appeal against a 12-month ban for "inciting hatred and violence" against Lionel Messi.

Ahead of Argentina's scheduled pre-World Cup friendly against Israel in June 2018, Jibril Rajoub spoke out about the match amid the conflict and political tension between Israelis and Palestinians.

The match was due to take place in Teddy Stadium, Jerusalem, a ground built on land said to have belonged to a Palestinian village before its destruction in 1948.

Rajoub urged fans to target Messi and incited them to burn shirts bearing the Barcelona star's name, with the match ultimately being cancelled.

FIFA received a complaint from the Israeli Football Association and Rajoub was given a 12-month ban from all matches at any level until August 23, 2019, while also being fined 20,000 Swiss francs (€18,056).

His appeal to FIFA was rejected in September, two months before he raised the case with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

Rajoub has again been unsuccessful in fighting the punishment, with the CAS panel adjudging him to have "failed to establish that any procedural violations were committed in the proceedings before the FIFA disciplinary committee...  that could justify the annulment of such decisions".

CAS, in its statement, added: "Accordingly, the CAS panel dismissed the appeal and confirmed FIFA appeal committee decision of 24 September 2018."

Where will Neymar be playing in 2019-20? It is the €222million question.

After joining Paris Saint-Germain for a world-record fee in 2017, Neymar wants to leave the Ligue 1 champions.

Only a select few of Europe's elite can afford the Brazil superstar. Could a sensational move to Turin be on the cards?

 

TOP STORY – NEYMAR SR TO TALK TO JUVE

Neymar could team up with Cristiano Ronaldo at Serie A champions Juventus.

That is according to Rai Sport following a report claiming Neymar's father will meet Juve sporting director Fabio Paratici in Turin.

Neymar wants to leave Paris Saint-Germain following his world-record €222m transfer in 2017 and the Brazil international has been linked with a return to Barcelona and LaLiga giants Real Madrid.

 

ROUND-UP

- The future of Luka Modric is once again in the spotlight, but the Real Madrid star is reluctant to leave, according to Marca amid interest from AC Milan. The speculation comes as the Rossoneri also look to bolster their defence. Gianluca Di Marzio says Milan are keen on signing €40m-rated Merih Demiral from Juventus, while Tuttosport reports the Italian giants have turned to Manchester United's Eric Bailly after being put off by Liverpool's valuation of Dejan Lovren.

- With Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben no longer around, Bayern Munich are desperate to reinforce their wide areas but the Independent claims the Bundesliga champions have given up on signing Callum Hudson-Odoi from Chelsea.

- Lyon captain Nabil Fekir is attracting a lot of interest from LaLiga and Valencia are now in pole position to sign the France international, according to Le10Sport. Diario Sport says Barcelona's Rafinha Alcantara is also hopeful of joining Valencia.

- According to Marca, Barcelona are ready to sell Arsenal and Tottenham target Malcom for £55m (€60.9m). Everton and Paris Saint-Germain are also reportedly interested in Malcom, who only arrived from Bordeaux in 2018-19.

- CalcioMercato claims Premier League giants Manchester United have entered the race to sign Roma sensation Nicolo Zaniolo. The 20-year-old has reportedly been involved in a tug-of-war between Tottenham and Juventus.

Inter are edging closer to Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku, who sat out Wednesday's friendly win over Leeds United in Australia. However, Corriere dello Sport also says Paris Saint-Germain's Edinson Cavani is an alternative for the Serie A side.

Ernesto Valverde is expecting a swift impact from €224million trio Antoine Griezmann, Frenkie de Jong and Neto at Barcelona.

France star Griezmann became the LaLiga champions' third major signing of the close-season last Friday, after Barca paid his €120m release clause at Atletico Madrid.

De Jong had agreed to a move to Camp Nou in January for an initial fee of €75m, having been courted by a number of Europe's top sides due to some standout displays for Champions League semi-finalists Ajax.

Goalkeeper Neto was signed in June for €29m, with a further €9m to be paid in add-ons, as Jasper Cillessen went the other way to Valencia for €35m in total.

Such an expensive outlay has led to big expectations for Griezmann and De Jong in particular, and Barca boss Valverde hopes to see them hit the ground running.

"They are three important signings," he told Barca TV. "Of course, we expect a lot out of them, they have our fans excited and what we want them to do is get into the team dynamic and perform to their levels.

"[De Jong] has last year and in recent years been playing at a high level, as did his whole team. We hope he can give us some fresh energy in midfield, which can only be good for us. We're building for the future and he has years ahead of him. He's a quality player. He has a little bit of our playing style in him.

"[Griezmann] is a player who fills spaces quickly and is decisive near goal and we know how much a player like that is worth and what he gives you in return. We have high hopes for him because he is young but with experience and that leads us to expect him to perform right away.

"Neto is an experienced player too, an insurance policy in goal, and we think he is an ideal complement to Marc-Andre ter Stegen."

Valverde accepts the pressure is on Barca to challenge on all fronts once more, with last term's league title win overshadowed by a Copa del Rey final loss to Valencia and a humiliating Champions League semi-final exit to Liverpool.

"We have challenges, just like any other year, and we also have the demand of having to win everything, to win all the time, to get our fans excited," he said.

"There is nothing else for Barca except trying to win every competition we take part in, to win all our games and stay faithful to our style."

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