Griezmann 'a caricature of himself' in toxic Barcelona environment

By Sports Desk July 02, 2020

Antoine Griezmann has become "a caricature of himself" at Barcelona, where his former Real Sociedad boss feels a toxic environment is taking its toll.

Quique Setien has named Griezmann on the bench for three of Barca's past four games, including important meetings with top-four hopefuls Sevilla and Atletico Madrid.

The World Cup winner was not sent on until the 90th minute against Atletico on Tuesday, with Ansu Fati introduced ahead of him in the 2-2 draw at Camp Nou.

Barca will fall four points behind Real Madrid with five games remaining if LaLiga's leaders beat Getafe on Thursday, with reports suggesting Setien has lost the backing of his players.

Martin Lasarte, who handed Griezmann his professional debut as an 18-year-old in the Segunda Division with La Real, believes the atmosphere at Barca is having a negative effect on the France star's adaptation to the team.

"What you see of Griezmann is like a caricature of himself. I see him sad, with his head down, running without much sense," Lasarte told Radio Marca.

"The coach has every right to make changes whenever he wants but I do not feel the other night [against Atletico] helped Griezmann's psychological situation.

"When things don't go well for a player, the coach should be there to support and help. Of course, Antoine will have his responsibility but there is an environment that does not help him to succeed.

"It would have been better if he had gone to Barca a year earlier. I have the feeling that when he said he was staying at Atletico something broke with the Barca dressing room."

Barca sacked Ernesto Valverde when they were top of the league in January and Lasarte thinks that sapped the momentum Griezmann was starting to build.

"Griezmann may have had a hard time adapting at first but then I felt he improved in December and January. Now he conveys a sad, down feeling," he said.

"The truth is I don't know if the change of coach at Barca was the most successful, it has not given the feeling of having improved much.

"That surely has also influenced Griezmann's situation."

Related items

  • Rumour Has It: Man Utd not giving up on Sancho, Havertz nearing Chelsea move Rumour Has It: Man Utd not giving up on Sancho, Havertz nearing Chelsea move

    The Jadon Sancho transfer saga continues to ramble on.

    Borussia Dortmund insist Sancho will not leave following Monday's apparent deadline, while Manchester United are still eyeing the English sensation.

    Will Sancho be gracing Old Trafford in 2020-21?

     

    TOP STORY – UNITED STILL TARGETING SANCHO

    Manchester United are not giving up on signing Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho, according to reports in the UK.

    United were dealt a blow on Monday when Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc said Sancho will remain with the Bundesliga club in 2020-21.

    Despite United's frustration over negotiations, the Independent and Goal claim the Red Devils are still pursuing the England international.

     

    ROUND-UP

    Kai Havertz is closing in on a move to Chelsea, reports the Evening Standard. The Bayer Leverkusen star is "desperate" to join Chelsea following the German club's Europa League exit on Monday.

    Andrea Pirlo's Juventus overhaul is underway. Calciomercato and Tuttomercatoweb say Blaise Matuidi is set to move to David Beckham's Inter Miami in MLS. Aaron Ramsey, Gonzalo Higuain, Sami Khedira, Daniele Rugani, Mattia De Sciglio and Douglas Costa are also on the chopping block following Maurizio Sarri's exit. United have been linked with a move for Costa.

    - Sky Sport reports Chelsea and Barcelona are battling to sign Ajax left-back Nicolas Tagliafico. Atletico Madrid are also reportedly interested.

    Milan are looking to re-sign star midfielder Franck Kessie, according to Calciomercato. Kessie is wanted by city rivals Inter.

    - L'Equipe says Lille defender Gabriel Magalhaes is set to decide his future. Gabriel will choose between United, Arsenal, Everton and Napoli. RMC and L'Equipe, meanwhile, report Gent star Jonathan David will undergo a medical at Lille on Tuesday ahead of his €32million transfer.

  • Leverkusen boss Bosz jokes about Havertz transfer amid Chelsea links Leverkusen boss Bosz jokes about Havertz transfer amid Chelsea links

    Bayer Leverkusen head coach Peter Bosz joked that Chelsea target Kai Havertz will join Heracles Almelo after the German side lost in the Europa League quarter-finals.

    Leverkusen's Europa League campaign came to an end on Monday, beaten 2-1 by Serie A side Inter in Dusseldorf.

    Nicolo Barella and Romelu Lukaku had given Inter a commanding lead inside 21 minutes, before Havertz reduced the deficit three minutes later.

    Havertz has been tipped to leave Leverkusen for Premier League giants Chelsea once the 2019-20 season has concluded, and Bosz was asked whether the Germany international had played his final match for the club.

    "Yes, I can exclusively announce he'll play for [Dutch outfit] Heracles Almelo," Bosz, who previously coached Heracles in two separated spells, said during his post-match news conference.

    Reflecting on the match, Bosz added: "We lost against a great opponent. We didn't play well in the first 20 minutes and had problems dealing with Lukaku, then things improved and we thought that we'd turn it around. We could've done better and are disappointed.

    "Marcelo Brozovic was allowed far too much freedom in the middle of the park and we had to make changes after those initial 20 minutes. As for Lukaku, he's just too strong in one-on-one situations.

    "We moved [Moussa] Diaby to the left, because they were pressing our wide men, and Diego Godin doesn't like coming out from the back, so we had more space then to build."

  • Solskjaer dismisses Sancho talk after Man Utd reach Europa League semis Solskjaer dismisses Sancho talk after Man Utd reach Europa League semis

    Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer refused to talk about rumoured transfer target Jadon Sancho after the Red Devils advanced to the Europa League semi-finals.

    United booked their spot in the final four of Europe's secondary club competition after edging Danish opponents Copenhagen 1-0 in extra time on Monday.

    Bruno Fernandes' 95th-minute penalty secured a semi-final showdown with either Premier League rivals Wolves or LaLiga outfit Sevilla.

    But attention turned to Borussia Dortmund star Sancho post-match amid ongoing speculation over the England international's future.

    Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc, earlier on Monday, insisted Sancho will stay at the Bundesliga club, despite United's interested.

    Asked about Sancho, Solskjaer replied: "I can't comment on other team's players, I can't do that. You know that. I never do."

    On the match itself in Cologne, Solskjaer said: "I am delighted that we're through. I think we deserved to win tonight. It could have been one of those nights that you ended up with a penalty shootout. They made it hard for us.

    "It's a good team we played against, well organised. They had a gameplan – we knew they were going to be hard to break down. We knew we would get chances."

    Juan Mata was influential as a substitute at the start of extra time, his composure and passing helping United earn the decisive penalty.

    Mata has struggled for game time this season but Solskjaer heaped praise on the 32-year-old Spaniard.

    "I think you saw when he came on he's so composed, calm," Solskjaer said. "He's clever, he's got quick feet in small right areas.

    "He can pick a pass, he can calm us down at times and he's such a great influence in and around the place as well, with the culture and the dressing room. I just commend him for his professionalism.

    "Of course, he's disappointed he's not played more but he's one of the top assist-makers in the Europa League and he's really done well for us."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.