By 90Min
August 05, 2019

Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone has said the timing of Antoine Griezmann's departure was right, eluding to the idea that if the Frenchman had stayed longer the relationship between the pair may have turned sour.

Griezmann's exit to Barcelona was confirmed in July, the World Cup winner joining after the La Liga champions paid his €120m release clause.

Simeone praised the sporting contributions of Griezmann but said the relationship between him and the fans was not the same compared to players like Diego Godin or Fernando Torres.

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Speaking in an interview with La Nacion, when asked why Griezmann didn't get the same send off as Torres and Godin he said: "Because it wasn't the same time [at the club]."

"His time was significant from a sporting perspective. The others, in another way, have lit up the hearts of Atletico fans."

While Godin and Torres were given emotional goodbyes by the club with much adoration from the fans, Griezmann was jeered after he announced he was likely to depart in May.

Simeone continued: "The numbers of Antoine are tremendous. In five years, he was among the five top scorers among the history of the club.

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"When he came to talk to me about his departure, I already sensed it. I think he looked for the most appropriate moment to keep improving. 

"He is young, he has talent, he is an extraordinary boy whom I love very much, and the best way to maintain this affection is from respect. 

"I understand that others also have needs. As long as others have needs that do not alter mine, it is great. If the needs of he who remains alter my needs, we may not end up as friends anymore."

JOSE JORDAN/GettyImages

Atletico have seen many faces walk in and out of the club this summer with Griezmann, Godin, Filipe Luis, Rodri, Juanfran and Lucas Hernandez all departing, while Felipe, Hector Herrera, Joao Felix, Renan Lodi, Kieran Trippier, Marcos Llorente and Mario Hermoso have arrived.

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