Barcelona recently suffered the shock of missing out on their third-successive La Liga title. What’s worst is that this came at the expensive of seeing the title go to their fierce rivals – Real Madrid. So what’s behind this surprising lapse in form from Barcelona? The Catalan team are still undoubtedly one of the major European footballing titans, but it seems that things are not going well at Camp Nou. The club have struggled with inconsistency throughout the 2019/20 season. While a change in head coach won’t have helped things, many people have blamed Antoine Griezmann for failing to fulfil his potential.
World Cup Fame
The forward shot to global fame during the 2018 World Cup as a result of his exceptional performances with the French football team. But Griezmann has been a mainstay of Spanish football since starting his career with Real Sociedad aged just 18 in 2009.
From here Griezmann has proven to be adaptable as either a main striker or an attacking midfielder. Plus the 29-year old has even branched out into other sports having taken an interest in racehorse ownership with the acquisition of the Tornibush racehorse. But don’t expect to see Griezmann’s runners featuring too prominently in the odds at the bookmakers featured at horsebetting.com as the striker seems determined to continue his upward trajectory in the footballing world.
After a seemingly endless series of negotiations the French star was signed by Barcelona from Atletico Madrid for a not insignificant €120 million fee. This followed five successful years at Atletico Madrid where Griezmann scored 94 goals in 180 appearances.
But with huge signing fees come huge expectations. While Griezmann scored two goals on his home debut in Barcelona’s 5-2 win over Real Betis, it seems that he never really settled in the ultra-competitive team line-up.
Nowhere was this better sen than in Barcelona’s recent game against Athletic Bilbao. This saw Griezmann having just one shot and completing a mere two dribbles. Such lacklustre performances have been in direct contrast with the fortunes of young stars like Ansu Fati who substituted the Frenchman after 65 minutes.
Such is Griezmann’s ill fortune that there have been rumours that he was involved in a training ground fight with Lionel Messi. The Argentine legend was noted for not having made a single pass to Griezmann during Barcelona’s recent game against Leganes. Getting on the wrong side of arguably the world’s best football player is hardly likely to endear Griezmann to the Barcelona hierarchy.
Given the massive drop in revenues caused by the coronavirus pandemic, there’s every chance that Griezmann may find that he is forced to leave Camp Nou ahead of the next La Liga season.
But the French star is just the latest big-name signing that’s failed to live up their potential at Barcelona. Philippe Coutinho failed to sparkle and was quickly shipped away on a loan deal to Bayern Munich, while promising youngster Frenkie De Jong looks nowhere near as vital as he did at Ajax.
The main issue with Griezmann seems to be that he has never been given a chance to play with the freedom he deserves. The French star was brought into play in the role that has normally been filled by the ageing Luis Suarez. But Griezmann shouldn’t really be seen as an out-and-out striker, and is more effective sitting just behind the forwards in more of a creative role.
But with the Catalan club’s famously impatient fanbase calling for blood after a relatively disappointing season, it seems as though Griezmann may be the scapegoat for Barcelona’s lack of success.