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

  • Ottey, Hemmings-MCatty, Bunny Shaw to receive national honours in October Ottey, Hemmings-MCatty, Bunny Shaw to receive national honours in October

    Jamaica’s track and field icons Merlene Ottey and Deon Hemmings McCatty, as well as female football star Khadija Shaw and legendary jockey Emilio Rodriquez, are among several sporting personalities, who are to receive national honours in October.

  • Seedorf gives Real Madrid hope but wary of Man City threat Seedorf gives Real Madrid hope but wary of Man City threat

    Real Madrid are facing a tough challenge to overturn their Champions League deficit to Manchester City, football legend Clarence Seedorf says.

    Zinedine Zidane's side head to the Etihad Stadium for Friday's last-16 second leg trailing 2-1 from the reverse fixture at the Santiago Bernabeu.

    Madrid are unbeaten since returning from the coronavirus-enforced break and such form allowed them to overhaul Barcelona to win the LaLiga title.

    City, by contrast, finished 18 points behind runaway champions Liverpool in the Premier League and were knocked out of the FA Cup by Arsenal.

    Seedorf, a European champion with Ajax, Madrid and AC Milan - twice with the Rossoneri - expects City to be keen to prove a point after an "average" domestic season.

    "I think when Zidane came [back], he got that chemistry back in place and after corona, I think Madrid came out solid, when Barcelona came out a bit segregated," he told Stats Perform News.

    "Obviously, when the club with players like [Sergio] Ramos and [Karim] Benzema smell the opportunity against that rival then that creates a motivation that they used and brought it home.

    "Ramos and Benzema have been key, key players but, as I said, the whole team has shown a pretty solid shape.

    "If you look at them without the results they have now, they are considered definitely [among] the favourites, Manchester City as well - these are two top teams in the world.

    "It's going to be tough to go there and turn it around, but nothing is impossible in that sense. But also, Manchester City need to make up for the average season, if you can call it that.

    "They can do it, but it's tough."

    Barcelona, meanwhile, will need to improve their performance to overcome Napoli and reach the quarter-finals, after a 1-1 draw in Italy.

    Much is expected of midfielder Frenkie de Jong, a €75million signing from Ajax last year who has yet to find his feet fully in Spain.

    "He's a great player, a great talent and we hope to see much more from him over the coming years," said Seedorf.

    "It's not easy to come to a new country and new club and perform. Barcelona... it's a privilege to come to a team that knows themselves so well, and you come into the same type of system.

    "Frenkie will become better and better hopefully over the next years and we can enjoy his talent on the international pitches."

    Similarly, Seedorf thinks new Chelsea signing Hakim Ziyech could find it tough to adapt to life in a new league - although he believes head coach Frank Lampard is the right man to help.

    "Lampard has shown to have had a good, positive impact on the team and young players," Seedorf said. "Ziyech is a talent that will face challenges, because this is not the Ajax style of play, the Dutch style of play, and that's going to be his biggest challenge, I think: to adapt to a new style of play and everything that comes with it.

    "But he has a proper mentor in place to guide him to the Premier League style and competitiveness that is needed. I think the ingredients are there for him to continue to spread his talent on the pitch and show that this next level was the right thing to do."

  • Jamaica's pearl status in the Caribbean against all the odds Jamaica's pearl status in the Caribbean against all the odds

    Last year I visited Trinidad and Tobago, met Brian Lara, did a couple of SSFL matches, walked the streets of Port of Spain, had some spicy doubles and attended the biggest party in sport. And needless to say, I fell in love with the twin-island republic. It was too short a stay.

    It was the first time visiting another Caribbean island, and I was even enamoured by the fact they had street lights, even on their highways. Because in Jamaica... in many instances ... the road is only lit by vehicular traffic.

    My friend Mariah Ramharack, a native of Trinidad and Tobago and my co-worker, saw the funny side in seeing my starry eyes.

    It is said that Paris is the city of lights. However, through the eyes of this novice wanna-be traveller, sweet, sweet T&T was all that and a bag of chips.

    That trip really opened up a craving to travel more, because being Jamaican, living in Jamaica and not travelling outside of Jamaica certainly limits my scope and my view of the world.

    Having said all of that... Jamaica is one heck of a country, and I'm proud that this is the country of my birth.

    What Jamaica has achieved as a nation, especially in sport, is incredible. We have led the way in the Caribbean and indeed much of the world in track and field, making a massive impact at the Olympics and the World Championships. Our athletes have showcased not just our talents but our culture. And I believe Jamaica's renaissance in track and field in 2008 at the Beijing Olympics is linked with the country's renaissance in tourism since that time, with tourist arrivals increasing by over 50 per cent according to tradingeconomics.com.

    We can claim to have sport's greatest-ever ambassador in Usain Bolt, and some of the greatest-ever female sprinters to grace the world in Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Veronica Campbell-Brown and Merlene Ottey.

    We also have some of the most notable cricketers from George Headley to Michael Holding, Courtney Walsh to Christopher Henry Gayle.

    We also have the first black woman to win a global title in swimming – Alia Atkinson.

    And as far as team sport is concerned, our Sunshine Girls are right up there in the world of netball while our Reggae Boyz made us so proud at the 1998 World Cup in France.

    These are just the tip of a massive iceberg of representation and pride over the years which began even before our Independence in 1962 in no small part due to the aforementioned Headley as well as the likes of Arthur Wint and Herb McKenley, George Rhoden and Leslie Laing.

    All of these stories were laced with adversity, which appears to be the driving force of Jamaica’s success.

    It is our blessing, and for many others who have fallen by the wayside, it is our curse.

    A cursory glimpse at the government’s expenditure on sport sees Jamaica spending far less than Trinidad and Tobago.

    Trinidad and Tobago spends roughly five times more than Jamaica and even the Bahamas spends twice as much as the land of wood and water. The economies dictate that this should be the status quo for now.

    Our emergence in the world is powered by sheer will and determination, and pressure. And maybe that is the true story of Jamaica. Because how else would pearls be made?

    Donald Oliver is a football and cricket commentator and a senior producer at SportsMax. Learn more about him at www.thedonaldoliver.com or email him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.