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Antoine Griezmann: “In the national team I feel freer than at Barça”

Pedri, Messi and Griezmann during the match against Celta de Vigo / DAVID RAMOS / GETTY IMAGES EUROPE

Before the start of the EURO’s this Friday, Antoine Griezmann sat down with L’Equipe for an interview. The French attacker talked about the European competition, how he feels at Barcelona, his ambitions and much more.

This Wednesday, June 9th, Barcelona and France attacker Antoine Griezmann spoke with the prestigious news outlet, L’Equipe. This is what he had to say:

On his physical form

“I feel in top form, despite the fatigue we have had during the previous preparation. I am less tired than in 2018 or even in 2016. From my point of view, I am happy. We have done a good preparation. Physically I am better than in previous years.”

Regarding the disappointment they suffered in the final of the 2016 Euro

“The final of the 2016 Eurocup is still in my head. They are important defeats, like those of the Champions League, which makes you feel bad. This makes you want to have a good Eurocup even more.”

On wether this France team is better than the one of the 2018 World Cup

“On paper, yes. Mentally, we will have to wait for the games to see. The group relation of 2018 was exceptional. It is what made us win games in the important moments. We will see if this time, during difficult moments, we will be able to respond in the same way.”

Regarding his role in the national team

“I feel freer than at Barça, wether if it’s recovering the ball or finishing an action in the area. When it comes to defending, I move for the needs of the team: sometimes I defend as a midfielder, sometimes as a winger. From the moment I am free offensively, I feel good. When I am asked to attack as a winger, I don’t have the speed for one-on-one.”

On how his critics vary in France and Barcelona

“In France I have earned respect. Those who know about football realize that I do well everywhere I go. In the national team, all the balls go through me, I feel freer, like at Atlético de Madrid. In Barcelona it was complicated during my first games and the criticism were sometimes exaggerated. In 2021, however, I think it has been better.”

His relationship with Lionel Messi

“My relationship with Messi is good. We understand each other well. Sometimes we write messages to each other, we communicate a lot in training. On the pitch he is a player with whom it is very easy to play with. In matches, it is getting better and better. This year has been complicated by injuries and in a system in which everyone has not been in their ideal position. But now a new season is going to begin with new additions.”