Xavi says Barcelona consider Griezmann an Atletico player as potential legal battle looms


Griezmann is halfway through a two-year loan spell at Atleti, but Diego Simeone recently suggested his minutes should be managed to avoid activating the buyout clause in their deal with Barcelona.

The France international – who scored in the 101st minute of Atleti’s UEFA Champions League opener against Porto on Wednesday – has made four substitute appearances in LaLiga this season, totaling just 109 minutes on the pitch.

On Friday, reports suggested Barcelona could take legal action over Atleti’s reluctance to sign Griezmann after he featured more regularly in his first season on loan in the Spanish capital.

Asked about Griezmann’s situation ahead of Barcelona’s trip to Cádiz, Xavi said: “This is a question for Chol [Simeone] who has already made it clear that he is a club man.

“It’s not a problem for me. Look, we held meetings with the club, we talked about the players, but I didn’t talk to Antoine’s club. I can’t do anything else.”

Pressed on whether he would welcome Griezmann back to Camp Nou, the Blaugrana boss said: “It’s a club matter, it’s not up to me, the clubs have to talk.

“In fact, we think he is already an Atlético Madrid player.

But Simeone was reluctant to comment on the forward’s future ahead of Atleti’s meeting with Celta Vigo, saying: “I have been very clear on this matter every day.

“It’s been four dates and I’ve always said the same thing. I have nothing more to say.”

Referring to the club hierarchy’s apparent desire to retain Griezmann, he then added: “Where the captain is in command, the sailor is not in command.”

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