Griezmann Left Atletico At The Right Time - Diego Simeone Says

Griezmann Left Atletico At The Right Time - Diego Simeone Says

Felix Egbomuche

Felix Egbomuche

Atletico Madrid manager, Diego Simeone insists he still has fond feelings for his former striker following his move to Barcelona.

The forward left the Spanish capital club to join the La Liga champions after a protracted transfer saga but Simeone says the playing leaving for Camp Nou was the best decision for all involved.

According to the Argentine tactician, staying at the club might have potentially ruined the relationship both men have built over the years.

Los Rojiblancos are undergoing a major rebuild after Filipe Luis, Diego Godin, Lucas Hernandez, Rodri, Juanfran joined Antoine Griezmann in leaving Wanda Metropolitano.

Simeone has overseen the acquisition of nine new players including the record signing Joao Felix who came in as a direct replacement for Griezmann who was widely jeered by Atleti fans after confirming his intention to leave in May as opposed to great sent-offs received by Torres, Juafran, Godin, and Filipe Luis.

"El Cholo" says the difference in the way the fans accepted the World Cup winner's departure was down to the number of years those players spent at the club.

"Because it wasn't the same time [at the club]," Simeone told La Nacion.

"His time was significant from a sporting perspective. The others, in another way, have lit up the hearts of Atletico fans.

"The numbers of Antoine are tremendous. In five years, he was among the five top scorers in the history of the club.

"When he came to talk to me about his departure, I already sensed it. I think he looked for the most appropriate moment in his search to keep improving.

"He is young, he has talent, he is an extraordinary boy whom I love very much, and the best way to maintain this affection is from respect.

"I understand that others also have needs. As long as others have needs that do not alter mine, it is great. If the needs of he who remains alter my needs, we may not end up as friends any more."

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