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."

Atletico Madrid won 3-0 at Numancia in their first game since Antoine Griezmann's controversial move to Barcelona, but the striker's replacement Joao Felix was substituted due to injury.

Diego Simeone started with five debutants, including the teenage forward, for Saturday's trip to Estadio Municipal de Burgo de Osma.

But, after taking an early blow on his right hip, the €126million signing limped off the pitch in the 26th minute and went straight down the tunnel.

New signings Kieran Trippier, Mario Hermoso, Renan Lodi and Marcos Llorente also started while Joao Felix's replacement Angel Correa hit the post shortly before half-time.

Having made wholesale changes at the break, including sending on another new defender, Felipe, Atletico took the lead in the 69th minute.

Substitute Rodrigo Riquelme delivered a deep cross from the right wing that Vitolo tried to meet with a diving header, the ball appearing to bounce in off his left arm.

Ivan Saponjic, who like the club's record signing Joao Felix has joined from Benfica ahead of the 2019-20 season, then made it 2-0 to the visitors.

Neat build-up play led to Toni Moya freeing Manuel Sanchez on the left wing, with his centre coolly converted by Serbian striker Saponjic for his first Atletico goal.

Atletico had finally found their rhythm and they scored a third goal with six minutes to go, Felipe celebrating another debut goal for the Rojiblancos with impressive acrobatics.

Atletico Madrid won 3-0 at Numancia in their first game since Antoine Griezmann's controversial move to Barcelona, but the striker's replacement Joao Felix was substituted due to injury.

Diego Simeone started with five debutants, including the teenage forward, for Saturday's trip to Estadio Municipal de Burgo de Osma.

But, after taking an early blow on his right hip, the €126million signing limped off the pitch in the 26th minute and went straight down the tunnel.

New signings Kieran Trippier, Mario Hermoso, Renan Lodi and Marcos Llorente also started while Joao Felix's replacement Angel Correa hit the post shortly before half-time.

Having made wholesale changes at the break, including sending on another new defender, Felipe, Atletico took the lead in the 69th minute.

Substitute Rodrigo Riquelme delivered a deep cross from the right wing that Vitolo tried to meet with a diving header, the ball appearing to bounce in off his left arm.

Ivan Saponjic, who like the club's record signing Joao Felix has joined from Benfica ahead of the 2019-20 season, then made it 2-0 to the visitors.

Neat build-up play led to Toni Moya freeing Manuel Sanchez on the left wing, with his centre coolly converted by Serbian striker Saponjic for his first Atletico goal.

Atletico had finally found their rhythm and they scored a third goal with six minutes to go, Felipe celebrating another debut goal for the Rojiblancos with impressive acrobatics.

Joao Felix had his Atletico Madrid debut cut short by injury as Diego Simeone's side opened pre-season away to Numancia.

The forward, a €126million signing from Benfica, was named in Simeone's starting lineup for Saturday's trip to Estadio Municipal de Burgo de Osma.

But a hip injury meant Joao Felix had to come off in the first half with Angel Correa - linked with a move to AC Milan - replacing him.

Simeone also handed debuts to new defenders Kieran Trippier, Mario Hermoso and Renan Lodi while a fifth fresh face, Marcos Llorente, started in midfield.

Correa hit the post shortly before the half-time whistle ended an opening 45 minutes light on goalmouth action at either end.

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."

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.

Atletico Madrid's close-season spending spree has continued with the €29million acquisition of Spain defender Mario Hermoso from Espanyol.

The 24-year-old centre-back has cost Atletico €25m upfront despite having just 12 months left on his Espanyol contract, with Hermoso signing an five-year deal at the Wanda Metropolitano.

A Real Madrid academy product, Hermoso only made his top-flight debut in the 2017-18 campaign but has since enjoyed a rapid rise.

Hermoso particularly impressed last term as Espanyol - who have a 20 per cent sell-on clause - finished seventh in LaLiga, earning his first Spain cap last November.

With Atletico seeing Diego Godin, Lucas Hernandez, Filipe Luis and Juanfran all depart at the end of last season, Hermoso had long been suggested as a likely arrival.

But Espanyol's apparent initial reluctance to reduce their asking price from the reported €40m release clause in his contract meant negotiations dragged on.

An agreement has been found, though, and Hermoso is the latest defender to join Atletico after Felipe, Renan Lodi and Kieran Trippier, who arrived a day earlier.

Hermoso takes Atletico's reported expenditure to €248m with Marcos Llorente, Joao Felix, Hector Herrera, Nicolas Ibanez and Ivan Saponjic also new to the club, although they recouped €120m from Antoine Griezmann's controversial departure to Barcelona.

Kieran Trippier says he had no hesitation about leaving Tottenham for Atletico Madrid because of his long-held ambition to play abroad.

The right-back signed a three-year contract in the Spanish capital on Wednesday, bringing an end to his four-season stint at Spurs.

Serie A side Napoli expressed interest before Atleti swooped on their replacement for Juanfran, who left the club on a free transfer at the end of June.

Trippier, 28, has the chance to rediscover the form that eluded him last season as he forges a place in Diego Simeone's notoriously mean defence.

"The Premier League is one of the best leagues in the world, but I didn't think twice when Atletico were interested," Trippier said at Thursday's presentation.

"It's a great opportunity to come and live in Madrid. Not many British players come abroad, but I always wanted to play abroad, especially in LaLiga, since I was young.

"I'm looking forward to learning the language straight away, which is my first priority. The quicker I can do that, communicate with my coach and team-mates, the better.

"I want to enjoy playing for Atletico and living in Madrid."

Trippier greeted the local media moments after Atletico sealed the signing of another defender, centre-back Mario Hermoso.

The Spain international, formerly of rivals Real Madrid, arrives from Espanyol in a €29million deal.

If starting his career across town does not attach enough pressure, Hermoso also has the unenviable task of trying to plug the gap left by Diego Godin's departure for Inter.

"It's a beautiful, important challenge," the 24-year-old said.

"Diego has been a symbol for the club. What better way to continue making history. I hope to continue that line."

Kieran Trippier is delighted at the prospect of working under Diego Simeone after completing his move to Atletico Madrid.

England international Trippier officially joined LaLiga giants Atleti from Tottenham on Wednesday, signing a three-year contract in a deal reportedly worth €22million (£20m).

Trippier impressed in England's charge to the World Cup semi-finals at Russia 2018, but struggled to recapture that form for Spurs last term.

Serie A side Napoli expressed firm interest despite the 28-year-old slipping out of the England squad, while Juventus and Manchester United were also linked, but it is Atleti who secured the right-back.

And it would seem having the opportunity to work with Simeone was a major factor in Trippier's move to Madrid.

"It's an amazing feeling. I've always wanted to play abroad and what a place to play," Trippier told Atleti's official website.

"A fantastic team, an unbelievable manager and I'm just looking forward to getting on with it now.

"They've been to some major finals, they've done so well in LaLiga over the years. They have world class players and a brilliant manager.

"I can't wait to work with the manager, learn from the manager and help the team be a success in the future. You can see how close he is with his squad."

Trippier made 38 appearances across all competitions for Tottenham in 2018-19, scoring one goal.

Kieran Trippier has joined Atletico Madrid on a three-year contract after leaving Tottenham in a deal reportedly worth €22million (£22m).

The England international heads to Spain in the hope of reinvigorating his career, which stagnated in the aftermath of the World Cup in 2018.

Right-back Trippier exceeded expectations in Russia, scoring the opening goal in the semi-final defeat to Croatia, but lost form on his return to Tottenham.

Serie A side Napoli expressed firm interest despite the 28-year-old slipping out of the England squad, while Juventus and Manchester United were also linked.

Atleti ultimately outlasted their competitors to secure a direct replacement for the long-serving Juanfran, who left on a free at the end of June.

Santiago Arias and the injured Sime Vrsaljko are the other right-backs on the free-spending LaLiga club's books.

Trippier's departure leaves Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino to choose from Serge Aurier, Kyle Walker-Peters and Juan Foyth on the right side of defence.

The departing Trippier made 69 Premier League appearances for the north London outfit after arriving from Burnley in 2015.

Tottenham also look set to sell Trippier's England team-mate Danny Rose, who has been left out of their squad for their Asia tour to "explore prospective opportunities with other clubs."

Kieran Trippier has joined Atletico Madrid on a three-year contract after leaving Tottenham in a deal reportedly worth €22million (£22m).

The England international heads to Spain in the hope of reinvigorating his career, which stagnated in the aftermath of the World Cup in 2018.

Right-back Trippier exceeded expectations in Russia, scoring the opening goal in the semi-final defeat to Croatia, but lost form on his return to Tottenham.

Serie A side Napoli expressed firm interest despite the 28-year-old slipping out of the England squad, while Juventus and Manchester United were also linked.

Atleti ultimately outlasted their competitors to secure a direct replacement for the long-serving Juanfran, who left on a free at the end of June.

Santiago Arias and the injured Sime Vrsaljko are the other right-backs on the free-spending LaLiga club's books.

Trippier's departure leaves Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino to choose from Serge Aurier, Kyle Walker-Peters and Juan Foyth on the right side of defence.

Lorenzo Insigne believes James Rodriguez would flourish at Napoli if he chooses to join the Serie A club.

Napoli appear locked in a two-team race to sign the Colombia playmaker, who reportedly favours a move to Atletico Madrid.

The battle may come down to whichever club is willing to meet Real Madrid's asking price which, according to Partenopei president Aurelio De Laurentiis, is beyond reasonable.

Atletico have denied being close to an agreement and Italy international Insigne remains hopeful James will consider a switch to Stadio San Paolo.

"The doors are open for strong players, we welcome them all," the Napoli captain told Radio Kiss Kiss.

"James Rodriguez is a true number 10, he has quality and together with us he would be great.

"Those choices, however, are up to the coach and the club."

Napoli have been quiet in the transfer market to date, acquiring only centre-half Kostas Manolas from Roma and right-back Giovanni Di Lorenzo from Empoli since the end of last season.

But after two successive second-place finishes and with the defender Insigne views as the best in Europe, Kalidou Koulibaly, already on board, Carlo Ancelotti's men are continuing to aim high.

"The Scudetto is everyone's dream," Insigne said.

"In the past few years we have come close and we have been disappointed. I'm convinced that if we all play with this determination we can cause trouble for anyone.

"We know we have a great competitor like Juve in front of us, but things could change this season with the new coach [at Juve, former Napoli boss Maurizio Sarri].

"I think we are getting stronger, but we have to start off on the right foot because we have the potential to fight at the top."

Barcelona are making moves to bring Neymar back to Camp Nou, but they have work to do.

Neymar, 27, is set to leave Paris Saint-Germain this close season, having told the Ligue 1 champions of his desire for a Parc des Princes exit.

It comes just two years after his world-record €222million move from Barcelona, who are taking steps to bring the Brazil star back.

 

TOP STORY – BARCELONA OFFER COUTINHO, RAKITIC PLUS €40M FOR NEYMAR

Barcelona have verbally offered Philippe Coutinho and Ivan Rakitic, plus €40m, to PSG for Neymar, according to L'Equipe.

The report says PSG are standing firm over Neymar, having paid €222m for the superstar forward two years ago.

There have been contrasting reports about Barca's offer, with others saying it was Ousmane Dembele, not Rakitic, included as part of the deal.

ROUND-UP

- Romelu Lukaku's possible switch from Manchester United to Inter has moved slowly, but the Serie A outfit could be getting closer. According to The Sun, Inter will tell United they will meet their €83m (£75m) asking price if the deal includes bonus payments.

- Atletico Madrid are well and truly rebuilding and their latest addition looks set to be Kieran Trippier. AS say the Tottenham right-back could soon complete a €30m (£27.1m) move to Atletico, while Spurs have enquired about Angel Correa in a potential deal.

- Arsenal have had a quiet close season, but they are still chasing Real Madrid midfielder Dani Ceballos. According to AS, Ceballos is set to join the Premier League outfit on a one-season loan deal.

- Daniele De Rossi was apparently contemplating retirement, but the Roma great could instead be set for a surprise move. Sky Sport say De Rossi is set to accept a short-term deal with Boca Juniors.

- Napoli are struggling to agree a deal with Real Madrid for James Rodriguez and they may turn their attentions to Nicolas Pepe. The Lille forward has been linked with numerous clubs this close season and Gianluca Di Marzio reports Napoli could move for the Ivory Coast international.

- Barcelona are extremely interested in signing Real Betis left-back Junior Firpo, according to Marca. The Spain youth international has reportedly been a target for Liverpool and Manchester United, but Barca are looking at negotiating with Betis over a €50m release clause.

Atletico Madrid president Enrique Cerezo denied James Rodriguez is poised to join the LaLiga side, adding there have not been negotiations for the Real Madrid midfielder.

Tipped to move to Napoli throughout the off-season, Atletico have reportedly emerged as the favourites to sign James as the Italian outfit and Madrid struggle to reach an agreement.

James is set to leave Madrid following a two-year loan spell at Bayern Munich, who opted not to make the deal permanent at the end of 2018-19.

Asked about Colombia star James, Cerezo told reporters: "Atletico are interested in great players and James is a great player, but from that to he's going to come, there's some distance.

"Negotiations? Not that I know of, no."

Atletico have been busy in the transfer market, breaking a club record to sign Portuguese sensation Joao Felix, while also adding Marcos Llorente, Hector Herrera, Felipe, Renan Lodi and Ivan Saponjic following the departures of stars like Antoine Griezmann, Rodri, Lucas Hernandez and Diego Godin.

Diego Simeone's transfer business is far from over, however, with Tottenham right-back Kieran Trippier and Espanyol defender Mario Hermoso reportedly close to moving to the Spanish capital.

"We've had a few signings and are in negotiations for a few more," Cerezo said. "Negotiations can end well or badly, but there are negotiations.

"Everything's going well, the team is training well, blending in well and very happy at Los Angeles de San Rafael. Now we're waiting for next season with a month left to go."

Arsenal should sell polarising playmaker Mesut Ozil and sign Hakim Ziyech from Ajax, according to former Gunners star Marc Overmars.

Ozil has long been a contentious figure at Arsenal, with many supporters underwhelmed by his performances in recent years despite being one of the Premier League's highest-paid players.

The German seemingly failed to endear him to head coach Unai Emery, who afforded Ozil only 20 league starts in 2018-19.

In contrast, Ziyech, a hard-working attacking midfielder, was inspirational in Ajax's run to the Champions League semi-finals and is reportedly available for the relatively low figure of €35million.

Dutchman Overmars - who is technical director at Ajax - claims he told Arsenal to replace Ozil with Morocco international Ziyech, but his advice went unheeded.

"I am a bit surprised that it is still so quiet around Hakim," Overmars told Voetbal International.

"I think he has played better every year and his statistics are exceptionally good. Many clubs are increasingly looking at that.

"They look more at the numbers than at what he shows and what is happening around him. I think Hakim Ziyech is better than Mesut Ozil.

"I would say [to Arsenal]: sell him [Ozil] and you will get Ziyech for half the price, but they didn't listen to me. So, it could just be that he stays with Ajax."

One Ajax star who is being strongly linked with other clubs is David Neres, the Brazil international winger who also enjoyed a strong campaign.

Atletico Madrid are said to be the favourites to land him and Overmars did confirm an offer has been made to Ajax, with the bid from an unnamed club set to be discussed in the coming days.

"Next week we are going to the table [for discussions] with his guidance," Overmars said. "For David, one club's interest is concrete, with an offer.

"We will then talk about that, but it is the intention that we as Ajax are leading [the discussions]. He was able to leave for China last winter, but we didn't let him go.

"Look how it worked out for Ajax, but also for him; he is now an international with Brazil."

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