Report: Messi Contacted €100m Barca Target
Report: Lionel Messi Contacted €100m FC Barcelona Target
FC Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi has reportedly personally contacted his club's €100 million-rated transfer target in order to convince him of the move.
The Argentine, who won his fifth European Golden Shoe on Sunday night, is believed to have made personal contact with Antoine Griezmann.
Spanish publication AS claimed that Messi called the Frenchman to offer assurances that he will be welcomed with open arms in the Blaugrana's dressing room, as stated by sources close to the Atletico Madrid superstar.
The France international has been heavily linked with a move to the Catalan giants, who are said to be prepared to pay his €100 million (R1.5 billion) release clause. As a consequence, the 27-year-old was whistled at by some Atletico fans when he was substituted in his club's final home game of the campaign on Sunday.
His teammate Diego Godin even stepped up from the bench to calm matters and asked supporters to instead cheer for Griezmann, who scored 29 goals and assisted another 15 strikes as the Rojiblancos lifted the UEFA Europa League title and finished ahead of crosstown rivals Real Madrid in LaLiga.
Atletico coach Diego Simeone tried to downplay the jeering after the match, saying the player has the club's unconditional support.
"Forty or 50 whistled," Simeone said, as quoted by ESPN.
"There were 60 000 people there. If he stays, we will keep becoming more competitive. I hope it is resolved in the way he feels is best for his growth. Here he has unconditional support.
"There are always critics, of me, Kiko in his time, (Fernando) Torres... Nothing surprises you in football."
Griezmann scored two goals in the UEFA Europa League final last week, which saw him lift his first major trophy since joining the club in 2014. Overall, the Frenchman has made 209 appearances for Atletico so far, scoring 112 goals and assisting another 40 strikes.
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