Simeone ignoring reports Griezmann negotiated Barca commission while at Atletico

By Sports Desk September 20, 2019

Diego Simeone dodged questions relating to Antoine Griezmann on Friday after reports claimed the France international negotiated a €14million signing-on fee with Barcelona while still an Atletico Madrid player.

Griezmann joined Barca in July when the Catalan club deposited the €120m to activate his release clause, which had dropped from €200m at the start of that month.

It brought an end to prolonged speculation about the attacker's future, though Atletico were adamant Barca and the player had struck some form of deal before July, meaning they felt they were owed a further €80m.

Barca insisted they only began negotiations in July, but Spanish newspaper El Mundo claimed on Thursday they had obtained evidence suggesting Griezmann discussed a commission in March.

Simeone was unwilling to address the matter in his pre-match news conference ahead of Saturday's visit of Celta Vigo, however.

"I'm thinking about Celta, I'm not interested in anything else," he told reporters.

"With all due respect to you, I understand the questions, but honestly, after playing on Wednesday we use the time to think about Celta.

"They have a reinforced team, the talent they have, the arrival of Rafinha, the presence of [Santi] Mina that creates an important attack. We are more focused on that.

"I understand your objective, but I've got mine."

New Atletico signing Renan Lodi received his first senior Brazil call-up on Friday, with the left-back having caught the eye during his early days at the club.

Although he was shown a red card on his LaLiga debut, he appears to have made the spot on the left of defence his own and Simeone is pleased with the 21-year-old's impact.

"He has been doing a great job since the first day he arrived," Simeone said. "He has extraordinary attributes that will grow with work.

"Hopefully he can maintain this situation of wanting to improve and I'm happy he's been selected by the national team."

Related items

  • BREAKING NEWS: Cuadrado extends Juve contract until 2022 BREAKING NEWS: Cuadrado extends Juve contract until 2022

    Winger Juan Cuadrado has signed a two-and-a-half-year contract extension at Juventus, the Serie A champions have confirmed.

  • Bielsa backs Pochettino to land top job after 'brilliant' Tottenham work Bielsa backs Pochettino to land top job after 'brilliant' Tottenham work

    Mauricio Pochettino will get the chance to take charge of one of the best teams in the world due to his efforts at Tottenham, Marcelo Bielsa says.

    Spurs sacked Pochettino this week after just five wins in 17 matches in all competitions this season and replaced him with former Chelsea, Real Madrid and Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho.

    The 47-year-old's departure came less than six months after he led Spurs to their first Champions League final, where they were beaten 2-0 by Liverpool.

    Bielsa, who coached Pochettino as a young player at Newell's Old Boys and has been credited with influencing his post-playing career, says reaching that final showed just how well the Spurs side had been constructed even in a season in which no players were signed.

    Bielsa now expects Pochettino to be given a chance by one of the world's top clubs.

    "I'm going to talk, not about the relationship I have with Pochettino, but for what I have observed in English football," the Leeds United boss said on Thursday.

    "The work Pochettino has done is brilliant. In the last year, he put Tottenham in a high level in the world. For any coach, it's a very important achievement. For Pochettino, I think it's even more important because the team that played in the Champions League last year was a team he built very carefully.

    "The performance of this team was more linked by collective play rather than top players being bought for them. They didn't buy big players to achieve this. This reality makes Pochettino's work even more important.

    "People who work professionally like that earn absolutely deserved credit. Maybe he couldn't enjoy this credit at Tottenham. But he will take this credit and big teams in the world will look to capitalise on it.

    "For sure, he is a manager who will lead one of the best teams in the world. He made Tottenham one of the most important teams in the world.

    "I have a lot of affection and respect for Mauricio. When something that is not good happens to him, I can't ignore it. If we look at the close effect of the situation, we can be sad. I feel sad.

    "But in 15 days, he'll be at the top again, because when you see things from a distance, without looking at recent facts, then you can realise what you've really achieved.

    "Now, he leaves a team that is attractive to Mourinho – that has a lot of value. The next team who take him will express again the respect Pochettino has created."

  • Rashford insists Solskjaer is perfect for Man United despite Pochettino talk Rashford insists Solskjaer is perfect for Man United despite Pochettino talk

    Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford insists there is no better manager for the club than Ole Gunnar Solskjaer despite suggestions they could be interested in Mauricio Pochettino.

    Tottenham sacked Pochettino this week and replaced him with former United boss Jose Mourinho, with Spurs having won only four of their past 18 matches in all competitions.

    There has been talk that United could consider turning to Pochettino to take over from Solskjaer, whose side have only managed two more points than Spurs from their opening 12 Premier League games of the season.

    However, Rashford - who signed a new four-year contract in July – said Solskjaer's plans were part of the reason why he committed his future to the club.

    "There was no hesitation from me over signing a new contract," he told Sky Sports News.

    "And it was the same for Ole as well – I could see where his head was at, where he wanted the club to be at and for me it was just a no-brainer.

    "We were on the same page and wanted the same things for the club. Ole is a great guy and he has the club's interests at heart so there's not a better person for the job in my opinion."

    While he supports Solskjaer, Rashford admits he will not be happy if United end the season in the Premier League's top four but without winning a trophy.

    The Red Devils have not won meaningful silverware since claiming the EFL Cup and Europa League in Mourinho's first term in charge in 2016-17.

    With the Premier League title seemingly out of their reach already this season – leaders Liverpool are already 18 points ahead of United after 12 matches – Solskjaer's routes to success lie in the cup competitions.

    There is pressure on United to return to the Champions League after failing to qualify last season, but Rashford does not think 2019-20 can be considered a success unless they also win at least one of the EFL Cup, FA Cup or Europa League.

    "It's been a while," the England international added about United's barren run of titles. "If we come out of this season with top four but without a trophy, I wouldn't be happy.

    "If we manage to get some trophies and get ourselves into the top four then, of course, it has been a successful season.

    "For me, it is just about putting markers down for what we can do in the future because we know that this period is not going to change overnight, Ole's not going to get what he wants overnight.

    "We have to bide our time and just be patient, as long as we keep working hard and believe in what we are doing – which I think the team do 100 per cent – then I think we will be fine."

© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.