Antonie Griezmann has admitted that his decision to reject a transfer to Barcelona in 2018 upset Lionel Messi.
Griezmann eventually joined Barca in 2019, but the previous year he teased the prospect of making the move to Catalunya – only to remain at Atletico Madrid.
Messi spoke positively about Griezmann joining the club in 2018, and the Frenchman has admitted the pair had a long conversation when he eventually joined Barca.
“When I signed for the club I asked for forgiveness for delaying the move and saying I wouldn’t join Barcelona,” Griezmann told Jorge Valdano on the latest edition of Universo Valdano. “I told Lionel Messi that I would give everything on the pitch for the club.
“I spoke with Leo when I arrived and he told me that when I turned down the first chance to go, he was screwed because he had asked for it publicly, but he told me he was with me and I notice it every day.“
Griezmann has not shown his best form at Barca, but his situation has not been helped by off-field distractions.
His former agent Eric Olhats and uncle Emmanuel Lopes have caused controversy by saying Griezmann has a negative relationship with Messi.
The France international has denied this and says he has no contact with either man.
“He (Olhats) was very important in my life but I don’t have a relationship with him anymore,” Griezmann said. “I stopped having any relationship with him since the day I got married. I invited him to the wedding day, and he didn’t come. That’s why I stopped having a relationship with him.
“My uncle doesn’t know how football works. And in the end, the journalist ended up getting the statement out of him. I told Leo that I never speak to them, in fact, I don’t even have my uncle’s phone number.
“My parents don’t talk to Eric either, so who is going to talk to him? He can do a lot of damage, and create problems in the dressing room.”
Griezmann is well aware that the best way to put criticism behind him is to perform on the pitch.
Barcelona are struggling in La Liga, where they sit in 13th in the table – 12 points behind leaders Real Sociedad, albeit with two games in hand.
They are better placed in the Champions League with three wins out of three to top Group G, and they face Dynamo Kiev on Tuesday.