Griezmann opens up on Valverde's alleged long-time interest in him and the 'French diaspora' at the club
- Reportedly, Valverde asked Barca to sign the Frenchman back in 2017.
- Moreover, the Basque coach is said to have tried to sign Antoine while still at Athletic Bilbao.
- Griezmann believes Ernesto has always loved him.
According to a recent report from Barcelona-based Mundo Deportivo, Ernesto Valverde asked Barca to land Antoine Griezmann back in 2017 when Neymar was still at Barcelona. However, the club didn't enter in talks with the ex-Atletico Madrid player until 2018. In a recent interview with Marca, the 28-year-old addressed the alleged long-time interest from the coach:
Ernesto Valverde. He's a coach that has liked you since you were a teenager. Many people don't know that he tried to sign you for Athletic Club when you were at Real [Sociedad], isn't that right?
"Yes, it seems like he's always loved me. There were always comments and now I'm looking forward to being with him, to see what he's like day to day, in training, in matches... He has a player for everything at his disposal here."
The 2018 World Cup winner also shed light on his relationship with the French players at Barcelona:
As well as the Uruguayan touch, there are also lots of great French players in your new dressing room. Do you feel at home?
"Yes, now, when we go in cold water to recover, the five of us (Griezmann, Ousmane Dembele, Samuel Umtiti, Clement Lenglet and Jean-Clair Todibo) are together. It's the same when we go to eat. We get along really well, when we go out for training, we wait for the last Frenchman before going out together. Like in the exercises. Now we're going to try to get Ousmane [Dembele] to speak more in Spanish and we're already seeing it."
How is your fitness? We've seen that you've been working with your personal physio this summer, but are you ready to perform immediately like Valverde says?
"I'm very well. I still need matches to get up to speed but I'm fine, full of energy and joy, and that's all you need."