Barcelona forward Antoine Griezmann said his relationship with Lionel Messi was good, saying he felt the Argentine superstar was ready to go to “death” with him.
But, Griezmann has struggled to live up to expectations at the Camp Nou since arriving from Atletico Madrid for €120 million just last year.
The player’s relationship with Lionel Messi has been questioned several times, and Griezmann conceded his decision to turn down Barcelona in 2018 had affected the Argentine forward.
However, Griezmann revealed that there were no doubts over his relationship with Messi now. He said: “I arrived at Barcelona after the rejection the year before,” Griezmann told Movistar on Tuesday (AEDT).
“There could have been comments even in the dressing room, from journalists, from the fans and that is why when I arrived I wanted to apologise on the pitch. If some have been offended, I will ask for forgiveness giving everything on the field.
“I spoke with Leo when I arrived and he told me that it screwed him when I refused to go the first time, because he had made public comments and that in the end I said no, but that we were on the same team and that he was going to death with me and it’s what I notice and feel every day.”
Griezmann’s former agent and his uncle both criticised Messi this month, with the club now struggling in 13th position on the Spanish league table.
But the Frenchman distanced himself from the pair, saying: “I stopped having a relationship [with my former agent] from the day I got married. On my wedding day I invited him and he didn’t come. That’s why I stopped having a relationship with him,” he said.
“He speaks because as neither my father nor my sister speak to the press, they call him. But Leo knows that I have a lot of respect and admiration for him.”
Griezmann added: “My uncle doesn’t know how football works. And in the end, the journalist ended up getting the phrase out of him.
“I told Leo that I never speak to them. In fact, I don’t even have my uncle’s phone number.”