Saturday, July 22, 2017

Griezmann denies calling Mourinho before signing Atletico deal

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 5 Jul 2017

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Antoine Griezmann insists he was not in contact with Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho before extending his contract with Atletico Madrid.

Griezmann penned a new deal last month running to 2022, having been strongly linked with a move to Old Trafford.

The France international explained that his loyalty to Atletico was borne out of the club’s transfer ban – which prevents them from registering any new players until January. Despite the sanction, Diego Costa and Vitolo have been linked with a move to the Wanda Metropolitano.

Mourinho was reported to have been in regular contact with Griezmann during his pursuit of him, and it was suggested that the striker had called the United boss to tell him that he had instead opted to commit to Atletico.

But Griezmann told FourFourTwo of reports that he contacted Mourinho before signing his new deal: “No, that’s totally made up. False. It was my decision. I communicated it to the club. That’s it.

“I have stayed mainly because of the transfer ban. Atletico needed me now more than ever and I felt I had to stay. It would be dirty to leave. I wouldn’t have been myself, or the person that I feel I am today, if I had left this club in that way.

“I spoke to Diego Simeone about the situation, our options and how he wanted me to stay to work out what we could do. Then we finalised everything with [chief executive] Miguel Angel Gil.

“I have too much respect for this club and the people in it to leave now because, just like Real Sociedad, they’ve given me everything.”

Despite signing terms for the next five years, Griezmann is not thinking beyond the upcoming LaLiga season, with United potentially set to launch another bid in 12 months’ time.

“To be honest, I don’t know,” he added on his future. “I’m going to be playing for Atletico next season and after that we’ll see. 

“All I am thinking about now is Atletico Madrid. I think it’s absurd to talk about something that is more than a year away.”

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