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Antoine Griezmann relishing chance to play alongside Lionel Messi

Antoine Griezmann relishing chance to play alongside Lionel Messi
© Reuters
The France international spent five years at Atletico Madrid.

New signing Antoine Griezmann is looking forward to being an important player for Barcelona and is relishing the chance to play alongside Lionel Messi.

The 28-year-old striker moved to the Nou Camp this week from Atletico Madrid after the Catalans met his 120million euro (£107m) buy-out clause.

He was unveiled at the club's stadium at a press conference on Sunday evening and the France international spoke about his intention to make an impact at Barcelona.

— Antoine Griezmann (@AntoGriezmann) July 14, 2019

"I want to be an important player at this great club, and I will try to win LaLiga, as well as the Copa del Rey and the Champions League – the trophies missing from my curriculum," reported Barcelona's website.

"I've worked hard to be an important player in every position. I can play on the left, the right or in the middle, but the only thing that matters is doing well in order to help the team. I offer passing play, assists, goals and joy in my game."

"It's always difficult to leave somewhere in which you are comfortable. I have a lot of admiration and respect for Atletico Madrid, and I gave my all for them, right to the end. However, now I want a new challenge, I want to better myself and step out of my comfort zone."

Asked about having Messi, a five-time Ballon d'Or winner, as a team-mate, Griezmann said: "I'm very happy. It's a joy for me to play alongside him.

"He is the number one player for me, like Lebron James in the NBA. He is someone that every player can look up to, and he will be a legend to my children – and my children's children in the future."

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu revealed the difficulties his club had in making the deal happen.

He said: "He is a player whom we have wanted to incorporate into the team for a while. It hasn't been easy to bring him here but we try to improve the team every year, and with the signing of Griezmann the team will take an important step up.

"We had to pay his buyout clause. We have requested a loan of 35 million euros, to be repaid over six months, and the other 85 million came from payments that we were waiting to receive."

Griezmann scored 133 goals in 257 games for Atletico after joining them from Real Sociedad in 2014.

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Antoine Griezmann and associated hair in action for Atletico Madrid on April 24, 2019
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