World Cup winner Antoine Griezmann has announced via social media that he is leaving Atletico Madrid after five years at the club.
In a video posted on the Atletico Madrid Twitter account, Griezmann ends speculation about his future and thanks supporters.
"After speaking with Cholo (Diego Simeone), then with Miguel Angel and the people in the hierarchy of the club I wanted to speak with you, the fans, who have always given me a lot of love.
"To tell you I have taken the decision to leave. To see other things, to have other challenges.
"The truth is it has been difficult to take this route but it is what I feel I need and I would like to thank all of you for the love you have shown me during these five years."
.@AntoGriezmann ha comunicado al club que no seguirá como rojiblanco la próxima temporada.— Atlético de Madrid (@Atleti) May 14, 2019
It is expected that the France international will sign for Barcelona in the summer, but a minimum fee release clause reported to be £108million will interest a host of Premier League clubs, most notably Manchester United.
Griezmann won three trophies during his time at Atletico including the Europa League in 2017/18, and has been linked with a move away from the Spanish capital for several years, even starring in a documentary made by Barcelona defender Gerard Pique's production company.
Pique was criticised for his role in the video and explained why to AS in June 2018:
“I spoke with Griezmann and he said to me there was a possibility of him coming. when he made the decision, he said we could record it.
“I wasn’t there on a day to day basis and I didn’t know the decision he was going to make.
“They criticised me for something that was going to happen anyway. I just put the camera there to see how difficult it is.
“At the moment that I knew, I called the club in the last day and there was no time to react. They didn’t record two finals. They recorded what you saw. Everything new generates debate and it’s good that people see how a decision is made.
“[Bartomeu] was p***** off. He called me. Barcelona is above everything and there are many players that want to come. In the end people give more importance to everything that is talked about. This programme was very close to a lot of player.”
Griezmann hasn't felt it necessary to film another 'will he, won't he' special this time around, instead opting for the no-nonsense approach of confirming his decision to leave. Atletico could have a busy summer of rebuilding with captain Diego Godin leaving on a free transfer and Lucas Hernandez moving to Bayern Munich as per the £68million deal arranged in March.