Real Sociedad winger Antoine Griezmann, currently taking part in the U-20 World Cup in Colombia, had reportedly told L’Equipe his mind was made up and his heart was set on joining Atlético.
The 20-year-old now claims he was misquoted by the French paper.
“I never said I wanted to go to Atlético,” Griezmann told Real Sociedad’s official site Thursday evening. “I said that every footballer would like to play next to Forlán, but in the same way that anyone would want to play next to Messi, Benzema or Van Nistelrooy.
“That doesn’t mean I want to leave,” he clarified, before assuring that he was “very very happy” at the San Sebastián-based side.
Griezmann then directly addressed the txuri urdin faithful, trying to clear his name with the fans after his alleged comments sparked a major backlash that was all too reminiscent of the bitter resentment many Atléticos felt towards Sergio Aguero during his messy divorce from los Rojiblancos.
“I want to stay here,” he said. “The supporters have always made me happy when they sing my name, when I see a child wearing my shirt. Why would I leave if I have everything here?
“La Real were the only club that had faith in me. My team-mates, my coach, the fans, they all have faith in me and I feel so valued here. I promised I would stay at la Real and that’s what I’m going to do.”
These latest statements by Griezmann will surely disappoint Atleti fans who had gotten their hopes up following the L’Equipe report, which had quoted him as saying, “I like Atlético’s project. I have made a decision, I want to go to Atlético Madrid.”
According to Basque Country paper Diario Vasco, Real Sociedad officials will offer the fan favourite an improved contract on his current deal, which runs through the 2014/15 season.
The youngster is expected to agree to the proposal.
Atlético general director Miguel Ángel Gil Marín reportedly spoke to la Real president Jokin Aperribay on Thursday.
Gil Marín reassured Aperribay, informing the president that Atleti has other priorities at the moment, specifically, finding a replacement for Kun, and that the club’s available transfer funds were limited and well short of an amount that could realistically convince Real Sociedad to let go of their prized jewel.
A little over two weeks ago, la Real rejected our bid of €7 million plus Raul Garcia and Fran Mérida for Griezmann.