Antoine Griezmann has confessed that he is still getting up to speed with Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi’s “movements” at Barcelona, while opening up on his “shy” personality making it difficult for him to form a relationship with the pair.
After five successful years with Atletico Madrid, Griezmann completed a £108 million ($142m) switch to Barca on July 12, bringing to an end one of the year’s longest-running transfer sagas.
Much was expected of a forward who had already proved himself as one of La Liga’s most deadly goalscorers, but he has been forced to adapt to a new role at Camp Nou.
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Suarez has continued to serve as Barca’s first-choice central striker, with Messi cutting in from the right and Griezmann shifted out onto the opposite flank.
The World Cup winner has only managed to hit six goals in 20 outings across all competitions, while struggling to exert the same influence on matches that he did consistently while on Atletico’s books.
It has also been suggested that Griezmann has failed to gel with Messi and Suarez, with Barca generally flattering to deceive with their performances at the start of the 2019-20 campaign.
Griezmann admits he is still trying to “understand” his new team-mates, but expects to feel more at home in Catalunya as time goes by.
“I have to learn a new position and also understand my new teammates,” he told UEFA TV. “I have yet to connect with the movements of Luis, Messi, the midfield and my full-back [on the left, either Jordi Alba or Junior Firpo].
“I am someone who is very shy. I do not usually talk to others, but everything will come with time. With Luis and Leo, we are starting to understand each other.
“We have already had dinner and we will go to more. What happens outside the pitch can only help on it.”
Griezmann went on to explain exactly why he decided to leave Atletico, insisting that he was fuelled by a desire to learn “new philosophies” rather than winning major trophies.
“I didn’t leave Atletico neither to win the Champions League nor to win more trophies,” he said. “I left Atleti to learn a new style of play, new philosophies.
“To learn another style of football, another team. Atleti can win LaLiga [Santander] and the Champions League any year.”
Having already qualified for the last 16, Barcelona concluded their group stage journey in this season’s Champions League with a 2-1 victory over Inter at San Siro on Tuesday.
Griezmann started against the Italian giants and will be expected to retain a place in Ernesto Valverde’s line up when Barca travel to the Anoeta to face Real Sociedad in La Liga on Saturday.
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