The fact that Lionel Messi is not returning to Barcelona is just settling into the minds of football fans worldwide.
There seemed to be a school of thought that the Catalan giants would find a way to resign the star.
🟦🟥🧬 Leo #Messi & La Masia pic.twitter.com/IBGDh6i3vR
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) August 10, 2021
However, the stark reality of Barcelona’s financial problems has meant that there was no way of Messi returning for the new season. It is a massive blow for the club from Catalonia.
One player who could benefit from Messi’s exit is France international forward Antoine Griezmann.
The 30-year-old joined from Atletico Madrid for €120 million in 2019. At Atletico, he was the main man when it came to their attacking play. He shone for much of his five years spell in the capital.
No doubt he was their star player in his last few years with Diego Simeone’s team.
His move to Barcelona saw him immediately fall into the shadow of Messi, as most attacking players did in recent years with the Blaugrana.
Griezmann had to adapt to fit into a system that was based around Messi. The Frenchman was almost shackled and struggled to find his best form at Barcelona.
His understanding with Messi improved over time, but there was still a sense that Griezmann was not given the same freedom he enjoyed at Atletico.
It was that freedom that allowed him to be so effective for the club from the Spanish capital.
This is Griezmann’s chance to prove to everybody connected with the Catalan club that he is not a big-money flop, as Barcelona need him to step up after Messi’s exit.
Now that The Argentinian has left and will not be returning, it could well bring out the best from the French international star. If it does not, then nothing will.