Though it came a year too late, Antoine Griezmann finally donned the Blaugrana from the beginning of the current season.
Seemingly seeing the error of his ways, the Frenchman departed Atletico Madrid for Barcelona with the good wishes of his former club.
To say that he wasn’t well received by the Barca fans who felt cheated by his behaviour from a year before, however, is an understatement.Various social media polls taken once it became known that Griezmann was on his way to the Camp Nou were definitive.
More than two thirds of Barcelona’s fan base didn’t want the World Cup winner anywhere near their club.
It was accepted that the player had the quality to play for Barca, but the way in which he had hung the club out to dry in the summer of 2018 was unforgivable for many.
Clearly, Griezmann had everything to prove and that was before a ball had been kicked in anger for the Catalans.
Fast forward to the present moment, and we are 13 games into the La Liga season. A season in which we’ve seen some special moments from the striker, but which have been few and far between.
Interestingly, most of the complaints have been directed towards Ernesto Valverde.
As with Philippe Coutinho before him, Griezmann has had to be content in the main to play in a wider role than he’s used to, and one which clearly doesn’t suit him.
He has been vocal in his desire to integrate, improve and do whatever it takes to be a success at Barcelona, but the plain fact of the matter is that he’s being marginalised in the role he is currently undertaking.
As if to evidence the same, look at the difference in his output and associative play, when he was played as the central striker against Real Betis.
Two fantastic goals and a man-of-the-match performance.
Griezmann clearly has the talent, but being a €100m+ player, he won’t be given the time he needs to bring that to the fore.
The burning question is whether that’s his fault entirely or partly? Valverde is also stuck between a rock and a hard place because he can’t legitimately fit all of his staff into the starting XI, and in their preferred roles, so some will always be disappointed.
Perhaps the truth is, at the moment at least, that Griezmann has been neither a success or a failure, and should be judged at the end of the season at the earliest.