Soccer-Atletico re-sign Griezmann permanently from Barcelona

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - LaLiga - Atletico Madrid v Celta Vigo - Metropolitano, Madrid, Spain - September 10, 2022 Atletico Madrid's Antoine Griezmann applauds fans after the match REUTERS/Susana Vera

(Reuters) - Atletico Madrid have re-signed Antoine Griezmann from Barcelona on a permanent basis with the French striker signing a contract that will keep him at the club until 2026, the LaLiga side said on Monday.

Barcelona had signed the World Cup winner in 2019 after triggering his 120 million euros ($116.51 million) release clause but the Frenchman failed to settle down at the Camp Nou, scoring only 35 goals in 102 appearances.

The unhappy striker re-signed for Atletico on loan last year in a deal that also allowed Diego Simeone's side to extend his spell by another year before they negotiated with Barca on a permanent transfer.

"Happy to be where I want to be! Thanks to everyone," Griezmann wrote on Twitter after the deal was announced.

Financial details of the transfer were not revealed but Spanish media reported the fee was in the region of 20 million euros with another four million euros in add-ons.

Atletico were keen to bring Griezmann back permanently but Simeone gave him a cameo role as the club reportedly did not want to trigger a clause where they would have to pay 40 million euros if he plays more than 50% of minutes when available.

Barca had already replaced him when they went on a spending spree in the close season to sign Robert Lewandowski, Raphinha and Jules Kounde, while Andreas Christensen, Franck Kessie, Hector Bellerin and Marcos Alonso all arrived on free transfers.

But the Spanish club needed to sell players and reduce wages in a bid to comply with LaLiga's financial fair play rules and letting Griezmann go will reduce their wage bill to maintain their spending limit for next season.

Atletico are fourth in the LaLiga standings after eight games, six points behind leaders Real Madrid and Barcelona.

($1 = 1.0300 euros)

(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge)

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