Griezmann Scores But 10-Man France Held By Bosnia In World Cup Qualifying

France’s forward Antoine Griezmann controls the ball during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 qualification Group D football match between France and Bosnia-Herzegovina, at the Meineau stadium in Strasbourg, eastern France, on September 1, 2021. (Photo by FRANCK FIFE / AFP)

 

 

World Cup holders France needed a scrappy Antoine Griezmann equaliser before holding on with 10 men to draw 1-1 with Bosnia and Herzegovina as they resumed their campaign to qualify for the 2022 finals in Qatar.

Edin Dzeko gave Bosnia a first-half lead in Strasbourg on Wednesday but soon after his headed clearance ricocheted back off Griezmann and just crossed the line to restore parity.

France were then handicapped by the 51st-minute sending-off of Sevilla defender Jules Kounde for a terrible tackle on Arsenal’s Sead Kolasinac.

The frustrating result, following their disappointing last-16 exit at Euro 2020, nevertheless keeps France on course to top Group D and qualify automatically for the next World Cup.

They have eight points from four games, four more than second-placed Ukraine, who drew 2-2 in Kazakhstan on Wednesday and who host France in Kiev at the weekend.

“It is obviously harder with 10 men. We had some chances but it is not the result we were looking for,” admitted France coach Didier Deschamps to broadcaster M6.

“Of course we wanted the three points but these qualifying campaigns are difficult for everyone.

“We have one more point and we’ll need to go looking for more in the remaining matches.”

 

France’s forward Antoine Griezmann celebrates after scoring a goal during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 qualification Group D football match between France and Bosnia-Herzegovina, at the Meineau stadium in Strasbourg, eastern France, on September 1, 2021. (Photo by FRANCK FIFE / AFP)

 

Both Kounde’s red card and the Griezmann goal brought into sharp focus the belated introduction of VAR by UEFA for the World Cup qualifiers — it was not in use in the first three rounds of matches in March but has now been hastily implemented across the continent.

Griezmann’s goal was shown to have crossed the line, despite the efforts of Bosnian goalkeeper Ibrahim Sehic to claw it away, after the Swiss officials reviewed the images.

Kounde had initially been shown a yellow card for his reckless tackle on Kolasinac but that was upgraded to red on review.

– Mbappe, Griezmann both start –
It was a disappointing night for France but they were perhaps not helped by having two of their most important players distracted by transfers — one that happened and one that did not — right up to Tuesday’s deadline.

Kylian Mbappe ended up staying at Paris Saint-Germain despite Real Madrid’s offensive to bring him to the Bernabeu.

Griezmann, meanwhile, made a late loan switch from Barcelona back to his old club Atletico Madrid, a move that was not confirmed until the early hours of Wednesday.

They both started in France’s first outing since Mbappe’s miss from the spot saw them go out to Switzerland in a shoot-out in Bucharest in the European Championship.

Coach Didier Deschamps notably gave a debut to Roma midfielder Jordan Veretout in the absence of the injured N’Golo Kante at a packed Stade de la Meinau.

France, 1-0 winners in Bosnia in March, fell behind in the 36th minute.

Thomas Lemar ceded possession in his own half and the ball came to Inter Milan striker Dzeko, Bosnia’s captain drilling a low shot beyond Hugo Lloris from the edge of the box.

 

France’s forward Antoine Griezmann reacts during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 qualification Group D football match between France and Bosnia-Herzegovina, at the Meineau stadium in Strasbourg, eastern France, on September 1, 2021. (Photo by FRANCK FIFE / AFP)

 

France, who had earlier seen Mbappe hit the outside of the post, were not behind for long.

Dzeko rose at the near post to clear a corner, only for the ball to hit the back of Griezmann and rebound towards goal via the thigh of a Bosnian defender.

Sehic just failed to prevent it from crossing the line, but Kounde’s challenge changed the course of the second half, leaving France a man down.

Kolasinac had to come off too, and this was perhaps an opportunity missed for Bosnia.

Atletico Madrid Welcome Back Griezmann As Real Sign Camavinga

File: Photo by BERNADETT SZABO / POOL / AFP)

 

France forward Antoine Griezmann has made a shock return to Atletico Madrid just two years after leaving to join Barcelona, on the final day of a hectic European transfer window.

Real Madrid also bagged a French international star as Eduardo Camavinga arrived from Rennes — but their attempts to sign Kylian Mbappe from Paris Saint-Germain failed.

World Cup-winning 30-year-old Griezmann, who scored 133 goals in his first spell with Atletico, has rejoined on a one-year loan deal with an option to extend by another year and an obligation to buy, the club said.

“Welcome back, Griezmann!” Atletico wrote on its website.

Barcelona have been struggling financially and had to allow six-time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi to leave for PSG last month.

Midfield prodigy Camavinga, who is just 18, penned a six-year deal at Real, the club reportedly paying a fee of 31 million euros ($36.6m) plus nine million euros more in bonuses.

It is a considerable sum for the Angolan-born player, who was in the final year of his contract at Rennes.

Real had spent the last week trying to clinch a dizzying deal for 22-year-old forward Mbappe, making two bids, the last understood to be worth a total of 180 million euros.

But PSG’s Qatari owners do not need to sell and appear prepared to risk losing Mbappe for free at the end of the campaign in order to have the World Cup winner, Neymar and Messi together in attack for at least one season.

Real can come back in for Mbappe again in January, when they could sign him to a pre-contract agreement to move next summer without having to pay a transfer fee.

It has been an extraordinary summer transfer window in Europe, with Messi departing Barcelona for Paris and Cristiano Ronaldo on Tuesday finalising his sensational return to Manchester United from Juventus.

Apart from Messi, PSG have also signed Sergio Ramos from Real Madrid and one of the world’s top goalkeepers, Gianluigi Donnarumma, from AC Milan.

They also strengthened their midfield with Georginio Wijnaldum from Liverpool and signed flying Morocco right-back Achraf Hakimi, who shone for Inter Milan last season.

The latter cost some 60 million euros, with the rest all arriving as free agents.

On Tuesday, the club also announced the signing of teenage Portugal defender Nuno Mendes from Sporting Lisbon, on a season-long loan with an option to buy.

Ronaldo is the latest big-money signing in the Premier League, where the biggest deals have seen Manchester City buy Jack Grealish from Aston Villa for £100 million ($138m) and Romelu Lukaku return to Chelsea from Inter for £97.5 million.

– Belts tightened –

In contrast, PSG apart, leading clubs on the continent have not been as willing to spend big money as they continue to suffer from the economic impact of the pandemic.

Before adding Camavinga, Real’s only signing of note was David Alaba on a free from Bayern Munich.

Barcelona, mired in huge debts, could not keep Messi and spent deadline day selling off some of their talented youngsters.

Brazilian right-back Emerson Royal joined Tottenham Hotspur for 25 million euros after two seasons on loan with Real Betis, while teenager Ilaix Moriba headed to RB Leipzig for an initial 16 million euros.

Their only new permanent signings have been free agents, Eric Garcia and Sergio Aguero from Manchester City and Memphis Depay from Lyon.

They also announced a deadline-day deal to take Sevilla forward Luuk de Jong on loan.

In the Premier League, Chelsea secured the signing of Atletico midfielder Saul Niguez on a season-long loan, while Leeds signed Wales winger Dan James from Manchester United in a deal worth a reported £25 million ($34.3 million).

Early strugglers Arsenal signed Japan defender Takehiro Tomiyasu from Bologna for a fee worth a reported £19.8 million, and offloaded defender Hector Bellerin to Real Betis on a season-long loan.

In Italy, champions Inter replaced Lukaku and Hakimi with cheaper alternatives in Edin Dzeko and Netherlands right-back Denzel Dumfries.

They also signed Argentina’s Joaquin Correa from Lazio on an initial one-year loan.

Juventus offloaded Ronaldo and signed two Italy internationals in striker Moise Kean and midfielder Manuel Locatelli.

Both arrived on loans that will become permanent after two years, a way for Juve to spread out the payments to Everton and Sassuolo respectively.

In Germany, Bayern Munich splashed a total of 67.5 million euros signing France defender Dayot Upamecano and Austria’s Marcel Sabitzer from RB Leipzig.

Borussia Dortmund bought Dutch forward Donyell Malen from PSV Eindhoven and, crucially, have kept hold of Erling Haaland.

AFP

Euro 2020: Antoine Griezmann Rescues France With 1-1 Draw Against Hungary

France’s forward Antoine Griezmann scores his team’s first goal during the UEFA EURO 2020 Group F football match between Hungary and France at Puskas Arena in Budapest on June 19, 2021. (Photo by FRANCK FIFE / POOL / AFP)

 

 

Antoine Griezmann salvaged a 1-1 draw for France against Hungary in Budapest as the world champions missed the chance to clinch a place in the Euro 2020 last 16 on Saturday.

Hungary threatened to blow Group F wide open when Attila Fiola gave the hosts a shock lead in first-half stoppage time after catching out the France defence.

But Griezmann, the Golden Boot winner at Euro 2016, equalised on 66 minutes as an unconvincing France avoided a first competitive defeat since June 2019.

Didier Deschamps’ side top the section with four points, one above reigning champions Portugal who play Germany in Munich later. Hungary earned their first point and the Germans are bottom after losing to France in their opener.

 

(L-R) France’s forward Antoine Griezmann, France’s forward Kylian Mbappe and France’s forward Karim Benzema prepare for a free kick during the UEFA EURO 2020 Group F football match between Hungary and France at Puskas Arena in Budapest on June 19, 2021. (Photo by FRANCK FIFE / POOL / AFP)

 

France stay in Budapest for their final game against Portugal, while Hungary travel to Munich to take on Germany, still hoping to qualify for the knockout phase for a second straight tournament.

Contending with stifling temperatures in excess of 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit) and a crowd approaching 60,000 at the Puskas Arena, the only Euro 2020 venue without capacity restrictions due to Covid-19, France controlled much of the first half.

Having lived up to their billing as tournament favourites in a 1-0 win over Germany, France dominated Hungary early on, creating numerous chances against a side that held out for 84 minutes before losing 3-0 to Portugal.

Peter Gulacsi clawed away Karim Benzema’s low drive, reacting sharply to keep out Griezmann’s follow-up, despite the Barcelona star being flagged for offside.

Lucas Digne, brought into the side for Lucas Hernandez as the only change made by France coach Deschamps, then picked out an unmarked Kylian Mbappe whose glancing header flashed narrowly wide.

Hungary lost captain Adam Szalai to injury midway through the first half, and the hosts were living dangerously as Benzema sliced badly from a superb flick by Mbappe before the Paris Saint-Germain forward dragged wide himself.

France captain Hugo Lloris had warned of over confidence against a team expected to finish bottom of the group, and Les Bleus were punished for a brief lapse just before half-time.

 

 

France’s forward Antoine Griezmann (R) celebrates scoring his team’s first goal with his teammates during the UEFA EURO 2020 Group F football match between Hungary and France at Puskas Arena in Budapest on June 19, 2021. (Photo by BERNADETT SZABO / POOL / AFP)

Fiola collected Adam Nagy’s crossfield ball and played a one-two with Roland Sallai, outpacing Benjamin Pavard and holding off Raphael Varane to side-foot beyond Lloris at his near post.

Deschamps had waited until the 89th minute before making a substitute in the opener against Germany, but the introduction of Ousmane Dembele for Adrien Rabiot on the hour nearly brought an immediate equaliser as the Barcelona forward rattled the post.

France pulled level when a long kick upfield by Lloris sailed over the head of Nagy, with Mbappe latching onto it ahead of Hungary’s Paris-born Loic Nego.

His ball across goal was deflected into Griezmann’s path by Willi Orban, allowing the forward to slam in his seventh European Championship goal.

Gulacsi produced a fine save to turn away a fierce shot from Mbappe as France pressed for a victory that would have sent them through to the knockout phase. Instead, they must wait until Wednesday’s clash with Portugal.

 

 

Hungary fans cheer prior to the UEFA EURO 2020 Group F football match between Hungary and France at Puskas Arena in Budapest on June 19, 2021. (Photo by FRANCK FIFE / POOL / AFP)

 

France fans cheer prior to the UEFA EURO 2020 Group F football match between Hungary and France at Puskas Arena in Budapest on June 19, 2021. (Photo by BERNADETT SZABO / POOL / AFP)

Barca’s Griezmann Welcomes Third Child, All Three Born On April 8

File photo: Barcelona’s French forward Antoine Griezmann attends a training session at the Luz stadium in Lisbon on August 13, 2020 on the eve of the UEFA Champions League quarter-final football match between FC Barcelona and Bayern Munich. (Photo by RAFAEL MARCHANTE / POOL / AFP)

 

Barcelona’s Antoine Griezmann announced on Thursday the birth of his daughter, Alba, on April 8, the same date as his other two children.

Griezmann’s three children – Mia, Amaro and now Alba – have all been born on the same day, with Mia born in 2016 and Amaro three years later.

 

The French striker is expected to return to Barca training on Friday, ahead of Saturday’s Clasico against Real Madrid in La Liga.

AFP

Barcelona Have To Sell Griezmann, Says Stoichkov

 

Barcelona forward, Antoine Griezmann has come under heavy criticism by former club legend Hristo Stoichkov for his overall performance at the club

The Bulgarian stated clearly in an interview Sportsport.ba , “If they want to do something good in the long-term, they have to sell him”

Griezmann who joined the Catalonian giants from Atletico Madrid in 2019 for a sum of £108m, has yet to live up to the sublime performances for which he was signed for,

“Whenever Griezmann is on the pitch, Barcelona are playing with ten players,” Stoichkov said.

The Frenchman had failed to register a goal in his last 10 appearances for the Spanish giants this record stretching back to 3 February.

According to the 55-year-old, the likes of Portuguese winger Francisco Trincão and Martin Braithwaite who have six goals between them should be included in the Barcelona squad

“Trincao and Braithwaite must be in the team, what is Griezmann doing there?he said.

Despite  rumours coming from almost every quarter about strife between the 29-year-old and the Barcelona boss, Ronald Koeman, the Dutch coach has maintained that all is well in the camp

“It’s good to have people who react if they’re not happy, there’s no time to use manners. I have no problems with things like that happening during the game, I like it.” Koeman said.

Barcelona are currently six points behind leaders Atletico Madrid next face Huesca in LaLiga on Monday night

 

 

 

Barca Beat Ferencvaros Without Messi In Champions League

Barcelona’s French midfielder Antoine Griezmann (L) celebrates scoring with his team-mates during the UEFA Champions League football match Ferencvaros TC v FC Barcelona in Budapest on December 2, 2020. Attila KISBENEDEK / AFP

 

Antoine Griezmann struck for the third game running as Barcelona beat Ferencvaros 3-0 on Wednesday to keep their 100 percent record intact in this season’s Champions League group stage.

Ronald Koeman again rested Lionel Messi with qualification for the last 16 already assured, and Barca made it five wins from five in Group G with an impressive performance in Budapest.

France striker Griezmann has struggled to find his best form since joining from Atletico Madrid almost 18 months ago, but the 29-year-old appears belatedly to be hitting his stride under Koeman.

While Barca lag 10 points off the pace in Spain, albeit with games in hand, the Catalans can complete a perfect group-stage campaign for the first time since 2002-03 with victory at home to Juventus next week.

They will finish top of the section if they avoid defeat.

“We played well. We’ve won five matches out of five, playing some good football and scoring quite a few goals. I hope we can continue this run in the league,” Koeman told Movistar.

“We saw that we have a very good team. We were able to rest several players, but those who played showed we have the expertise.”

Despite the absence of Messi, goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Philippe Coutinho and injured pair Gerard Pique and Ansu Fati, a heavily rotated Barca ripped the Hungarian champions apart in the opening half-hour.

Griezmann’s clever back-heel flick from a Jordi Alba cross set the visitors on their way 14 minutes into a freezing night at the Puskas Arena.

Martin Braithwaite soon poked in a second from a similar position following an Ousmane Dembele assist, capping a 33-pass move with his fourth goal in three games.

Dembele crashed home a penalty after Braithwaite was upended by Abraham Frimpong, with Koeman withdrawing Alba and Sergio Busquets at half-time and giving some playing time to youngsters Carles Alena, Riqui Puig and Konrad de la Fuente.

AFP

Barcelona’s Griezmann Cuts Huawei Ties Over Uighurs Surveillance Claims

(COMBO) This combination of files pictures created on December 10, 2020 shows France’s forward Antoine Griezmann (L) on October 11, 2019 in Reykjavik and the logo of Chinese company Huawei in London on July 14, 2020.
DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS, Jonathan NACKSTRAND / AFP

 

 

Barcelona’s World Cup-winning footballer Antoine Griezmann said Thursday he was ending a commercial deal with Huawei over reports the Chinese telecoms giant was involved in the surveillance of Uighur Muslims.

Frenchman Griezmann said on Instagram that following “strong suspicions that Huawei has contributed to the development of a ‘Uighurs alert’ through the use of facial recognition software, I am immediately ending my partnership with the company.”

He called on Huawei to “not just deny these accusations but to take concrete action as quickly as possible to condemn this mass repression… and to use its influence to contribute to the respect of human rights”.

US-based surveillance research firm IPVM said in a report Tuesday that Huawei had been involved in testing facial recognition software in China that could send alerts to police when it recognised Uighur minorities’ faces.

Huawei, earlier this year became the world’s top mobile phone seller, denied the claims.

 

RELATED: China Accused Of Using Big Data To Select Muslims For Arrest In Xinjiang

 

“We do not develop algorithms, nor applications in the field of facial recognition or solutions targeting ethnic groups,” Huawei told AFP.

“Our products and solutions comply with industry standards and current regulations. Huawei fully and strictly adheres to the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, and complies with laws in the 170 countries where it operates.”

Human Rights Watch says Uighurs in Xinjiang are being arrested after being reported by software that identifies suspicious behaviour.

Surveillance spending in Xinjiang has risen sharply in recent years, with facial recognition, iris scanners, DNA collection, and artificial intelligence deployed across the province in the name of preventing terrorism.

China has come under intense international criticism over its policies in Xinjiang, where rights groups say as many as one million Uighurs and other mostly Muslim minorities have been held in internment camps.

China defends the camps as vocational training centres aimed at stamping out terrorism and improving employment opportunities.

– Making voices heard –

Griezmann, a 29-year-old forward who was a key part of the France team that reached the final of Euro 2016 and then won the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

He has been a Huawei brand ambassador since 2017 and has featured prominently in a giant advertising campaign for the company in France.

Griezmann made his name with Real Sociedad in Spain before moving to Atletico Madrid in 2014.

He joined Barcelona in a 120-million-euro ($145.5 million) deal in 2019 and is expected to be part of the French squad for next year’s European championships.

His decision to end his Huawei contract comes at a time when French sports figures, especially high-profile footballers, are increasingly making their voice heard on social and political issues.

In posts on his social media accounts last month, Griezmann expressed his concern at a video showing French policemen beating a music producer.

The video was one of the factors that led President Emmanuel Macron to declare that there is an “urgent need” to reform the police.

Griezmann previously suggested teams should walk off the field when faced with homophobic abuse from the stands, saying that “homophobia is a crime, not an opinion” in a May 2019 interview with French LGBT magazine Tetu.

On Wednesday, the Paris Saint-Germain team, containing Griezmann’s World Cup teammate Kylian Mbappe, walked off the pitch with their opponents from Istanbul Basaksehir in protest at the allegedly racist language used by a match official in a Champions League game.

AFP

Griezmann Left On Bench For Barcelona Against Bayern Munich

Barcelona’s French forward Antoine Griezmann attends a training session at the Luz stadium in Lisbon on August 13, 2020 on the eve of the UEFA Champions League quarter-final football match between FC Barcelona and Bayern Munich. (Photo by RAFAEL MARCHANTE / POOL / AFP)

 

Antoine Griezmann has been left out of Barcelona’s starting line-up for their Champions League quarter-final against Bayern Munich in Lisbon on Friday.

The France forward drops to the bench as coach Quique Setien makes two changes to the team which defeated Napoli 3-1 last Saturday in the second leg of their last-16 tie.

Ivan Rakitic also makes way as Sergio Busquets and former Bayern man Arturo Vidal return after suspension.

German double winners Bayern are unchanged following their 4-1 defeat of Chelsea last weekend which took them to the ‘Final Eight’ 7-1 on aggregate.

That means Joshua Kimmich plays at right-back with Benjamin Pavard sidelined, and Thiago Alcantara starts against his old side in midfield.

The winners of the one-off tie, being played behind closed doors, will meet either Manchester City or Lyon in the semi-finals.

Starting line-ups in the UEFA Champions League quarter-final between Barcelona and Bayern Munich at the Estadio da Luz in Lisbon (kick-off 1900 GMT):

Barcelona (4-3-1-2)

Marc-Andre ter Stegen; Nelson Semedo, Gerard Pique, Clement Lenglet, Jordi Alba; Sergi Roberto, Sergio Busquets, Frenkie de Jong; Arturo Vidal; Lionel Messi (capt), Luis Suarez

Coach: Quique Setien (ESP)

Bayern Munich (4-2-3-1)

Manuel Neuer (capt); Joshua Kimmich, Jerome Boateng, David Alaba, Alphonso Davies; Leon Goretzka, Thiago Alcantara; Serge Gnabry, Thomas Mueller, Ivan Perisic; Robert Lewandowski

Coach: Hansi Flick (GER)

Referee: Damir Skomina (SLO)

 

 

-AFP

 

Griezmann Rescues Barcelona First Leg Draw At Napoli

Barcelona’s French forward Antoine Griezmann (R) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 first-leg football match between SSC Napoli and FC Barcelona at the San Paolo Stadium in Naples on February 25, 2020. Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP

 

Antoine Griezmann rescued a 1-1 draw for Barcelona at Napoli in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie on Tuesday.

Frenchman Griezmann struck just before the hour mark for Barca in Naples after Dries Mertens had put the hosts ahead in the 30th minute with his 121st Napoli goal, equalling the club all-time top scorer Marek Hamsik.

Barcelona ended the game with 10 men after Arturo Vidal was sent off with two minutes to go after picking up two yellow cards, following an angry clash with Napoli defender Mario Rui.

Lionel Messi failed to score on his first appearance at the Stadio San Paolo where Napoli legend Diego Maradona reigned supreme three decades ago.

The 32-year-old Messi scored four goals at the weekend in Barcelona’s 5-0 win over Eibar that put the Spaniards back the top of La Liga, but could not add to his 114 Champions League goals.

The clash was the first between the two teams and also a Champions League debut for Barcelona coach Quique Setien and Napoli’s Gennaro Gattuso, who both took over after the group stage.

Messi fired over on nine minutes after combining well with Frenkie de Jong but Gattuso’s side piled the pressure on the Catalans.

Their pressing paid off on the half-hour mark, with Piotr Zielinski breaking free down the right before finding Mertens, who curled a magnificent finish past Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

He equalled Hamsik’s record and is now six goals clear of Maradona, but was forced off in the second half after a Sergio Busquets tackle for which the Spaniard will be suspended for the second leg.

Barcelona did not waste much time in getting on level terms, as Messi and Busquets combined to send Semedo into the box in the 57th minute.

The Portuguese full-back crossed low for Griezmann to power home right-footed.

Ter Stegen denied Lorenzo Insigne with Jose Callejon also missing a chance for a second, as did Messi with eight minutes to go.

Vidal was sent off after a sliding tackle on Rui before appearing to headbutt the Napoli defender.

The Chilean will also miss the return leg at the Camp Nou on March 18.

AFP

Barcelona Fined Paltry 300 Euros For Tapping Up Griezmann

Barcelona’s French forward Antoine Griezmann looks on during the Spanish league football match between Granada FC and FC Barcelona at Nuevo Los Carmenes stadium in Granada on September 21, 2019. JORGE GUERRERO / AFP

 

Barcelona have been fined a mere 300 euros ($328) after the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) found the club guilty of tapping up Antoine Griezmann last season while he was still attached to Atletico Madrid.

Barca signed Griezmann after paying his 120-million-euro buyout clause in July, prompting Atletico to claim the Catalan club had negotiated with the Frenchman without their permission.

The RFEF published its decision on Thursday, in which it said Barcelona were guilty of holding talks with Griezmann but insisted it was not possible to prove a formal contract was signed.

The RFEF also acknowledged the insignificance of the fine, which represents only 0.000045 percent of Barcelona’s 671.42 million-euro salary budget this season.

The RFEF’s statement read: “Taking into account the economic capacity of the club and the amount of the fine, this committee is aware that the payment of 300 euros, beyond its merely symbolic character, will not damage the sanctioned club and, probably, will not persuade other clubs in the same situation in the future to adjust their conduct to the regulations.”

But the RFEF said that was “not a sufficient reason” to impose the other possible sanction of closing Camp Nou for a match, which it says would be to punish “infractions of a different nature”.

Barcelona had come close to signing Griezmann in 2018, only for the striker to decide to stay and sign a new contract at Atletico Madrid.

But Griezmann announced his decision to leave Atletico in May, explaining that he wanted to seek a new challenge away from the club where he had spent five successful seasons.

The RFEF said Barcelona “initiated and maintained negotiations with the player without prior written notice to Atletico Madrid”.

But concluded that “it has not been demonstrated that the contract between Antoine Griezmann and Barcelona was formally signed”.

The statement added that the decision “attaches no disciplinary responsibility whatsoever to the player”.

Griezmann has played seven times so far this season for Barcelona and scored three goals.

AFP

I Tried To Copy Messi And LeBron, Says Griezmann After Barca Brace

 

Antoine Griezmann copied Lionel Messi for the goal and LeBron James for the celebration but it was his night for Barcelona on Sunday after he scored twice in a 5-2 win over Real Betis.

Griezmann imitated the basketball superstar by tossing confetti into the air to celebrate his second at Camp Nou, a curling effort into the corner that he said was inspired by watching Messi.

“I saw Leo do this in training, so I tried to copy him,” said Griezmann. “And for the celebration, I like the ritual that LeBron did so we tried to do it as well.”

Yet Griezmann was the star, if only for the night with Messi in the stands, the Argentinian still short of fitness following a calf injury.

A brilliant Barcelona performance also delivered a resounding response to the doubts arising from their defeat by Athletic Bilbao last weekend, among them a reliance on Messi, the need for Neymar and the future of Ernesto Valverde as coach.

But as Carles Perez, Jordi Alba and Arturo Vidal made it three, four and five, the gloom was forgotten, along with Nabil Fekir’s opener in the 15th minute, that had Betis level at half-time.

“After a defeat, there is always a big reaction,” Griezmann said. “We really wanted to play another game and when so many players are missing, the team steps up.”

Loren Moron slammed a late strike into the top corner for Betis but by then the game was up as Barca ensured no further ground was lost on Atletico Madrid, who beat Leganes 1-0 earlier on Sunday, or Real Madrid, who were held to a 1-1 draw on Saturday by Real Valladolid.

Timely display

Barcelona will hope to have Messi back for the trip to Osasuna next weekend but with Luis Suarez and Ousmane Dembele both out for longer, Griezmann’s statement display was timely.

Whether it also affects the club’s attempts to prise Neymar from Paris Saint-Germain remains to be seen.

“I have to admit today was an important day for Antoine,” said Valverde.

The crowd also enjoyed a goal from the 21-year-old Perez, making his first Barca start, and a substitute appearance from Anssumane Fati, who at 16 became the second youngest player ever to play for the club in La Liga.

Sergio Busquets was at fault for Betis’ opener as he gave the ball away, allowing Fekir to drive in his debut goal since he moved from Lyon in July.

But Barca were undeterred and after Rafinha missed an excellent chance to equalise, Griezmann took over, volleying in on the stretch four minutes before half-time, past the weak hand of Dani Martin.

If Griezmann’s first owed something to the goalkeeper, his second was unstoppable. He collected the ball 25 yards out and used Sidnei as a marker to bend his shot around the defender and inside the far post.

Griezmann ran to the corner where confetti was poured into his hands. He threw it into the air above his head.

Barca were relentless as Perez steered a third into the bottom corner and Alba made it four, latching onto a superb Busquets pass inside the full-back.

There was still time for two scintillating strikes, the first from Vidal, who was slid in by Griezmann, and the second by Loren, who was given too much space. It was no more than a consolation.

Barcelona stay behind Atletico, who maintained their perfect start with another 1-0 victory, this time over Leganes as Vitolo came off the bench to score a second-half winner at Butarque.

Joao Felix, Atletico’s 126 million-euro ($140 million) buy from Benfica and much-hailed replacement for Griezmann, was again quiet but again delivered the match’s most memorable moment.

The 19-year-old’s perfectly-timed pass provided set Vitolo free while Felix had been picked out by Kieran Trippier, who was faultless on his second Atletico start.

Griezmann Nets Brace As Barca Put Five Past Betis

 

Antoine Griezmann proved Barcelona can win without Lionel Messi and do without Neymar too after he scored twice in a 5-2 demolition of Real Betis on Sunday.

Griezmann tossed confetti into the air as he celebrated his second at Camp Nou, where he was the star performer, if only for a night in the absence of Messi, who is still short of fitness.

A brilliant Barcelona performance delivered a resounding response to the doubts from their defeat to Athletic Bilbao last weekend, among them a reliance on Messi, the need for Neymar and the future of Ernesto Valverde as coach.

But as Carles Perez, Jordi Alba and Arturo Vidal made it three, four and five, the gloom was forgotten, along with Nabil Fekir’s opener in the 15th minute, that had Betis level at half-time.

Loren Moron slammed a stunning strike into the top corner for Betis late on but by then the game was up as Barca ensured no more ground was lost on Atletico Madrid, who beat Leganes 1-0 earlier on Sunday, or Real Madrid, who were held to a 1-1 draw on Saturday by Real Valladolid.

Barcelona will hope to have Messi back for the trip to Osasuna next weekend but with Luis Suarez and Ousmane Dembele both out for longer, Griezmann’s statement display was timely.

This was his first goal at Camp Nou in 14 appearances, five of them for Real Sociedad and eight for Atletico, and his overall performance was of someone ready to lead, rather than serve merely as a foil for Messi.

Suarez and Messi were in the crowd, who enjoyed a goal from the 21-year-old Perez, making his first start, and a substitute appearance from Anssumane Fati, who at 16 became the second youngest player ever to play for Barcelona in La Liga.

Sergio Busquets was at fault for Betis’ opener as he gave the ball away, allowing Fekir to drive into the corner.

But Barca looked dangerous and were undeterred, even if Gerard Pique, on his 500th appearance for the club, was lucky to escape only with a yellow card when he fouled Loren as the last man.

Rafinha missed an excellent chance to equalise before Griezmann took over, volleying in on the stretch four minutes before half-time, past the weak hand of Dani Martin.

If Griezmann’s first owed something to the goalkeeper, his second was unstoppable. He collected the ball 25 yards out and used Sidnei as a marker to bend his shot around and into the far corner.

Griezmann ran to the corner where confetti was poured into his hands. He tossed it into the air above his head.

Barca were relentless as Perez drove into the bottom corner and Alba made it four, latching onto a superb Busquets pass inside the full-back.

There was still time for two scintillating strikes, the first from Vidal, who was slid in by Griezmann, and the second by Loren, who was given too much space. It was no more than a consolation.

Barcelona stay behind Atletico, who maintained their perfect start with another 1-0 victory, this time over Leganes as Vitolo came off the bench to score a second-half winner at Butarque.

After beating Getafe last weekend by the same scoreline, Atletico have begun the season in familiar fashion, with efficiency trumping invention despite an ambitious set of summer signings.

Joao Felix, Atletico’s 126 million-euro ($140 million) buy from Benfica and much-hailed replacement for Griezmann, was quiet again but again delivered the match’s most memorable moment.

The 19-year-old’s perfectly-timed pass provided the assist for Vitolo while Felix had been picked out by Kieran Trippier, who was faultless on his second Atletico start.