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Griezmann rejects Barca, decides to stay at Atletico Madrid

French striker Antoine Griezmann announced on Friday he was staying put at Atletico Madrid in an eagerly awaited decision that ends intense speculation of a possible move to Barcelona.

“I’ve decided to stay,” Griezmann told a Spanish pay per view channel 48 hours before he turns out for France in their World Cup opener.

The 27-year-old was heavily wooed by Barcelona but in the end he has elected to prolong his four year stay at the Spanish capital side.

Last month he scored twice in Atletico’s 3-0 win over Marseille in the Europa League final.

It was Griezmann’s first major title with Atletico after being in the side that lost on penalties to Real Madrid in the Champions League final in 2016, having also lost to Real two years earlier.

He also lost the European Championship final with France that same summer.

“I want to win the Champions League…it wasn’t hard luck, it was that we were missing something,” he reflected.

His loyalty to Atletico has been rewarded with an increase in salary to 20 million euros a year, according to reports in the Spanish media, making him the best paid player in the club’s history.

For Barcelona, his decision to stay in Madrid will be hard to take, a year after the loss of Neymar to Paris Saint-Germain. The Catalan giants were all set to meet his 100 million euro buyout clause.                             -AFP

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