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Antoine Griezmann Says 'Adios' to Atletico Amid Rumoured Barcelona Transfer

French footballer and 2018 World Cup winner Antoine Griezmann has announced that he has informed Atletico Madrid of his intention to leave the football club to "experience new things and have new challenges". 

READ MORE: Antoine Griezmann Brings 2018 World Cup Trophy To His Hometown

Directly addressing Atletico fans in a video statement shared via the club's Twitter, the forward said that they are first to learn the news after the team's manager Diego Simeone and Miguel Angel, the chief executive.

"I wanted to tell you that I’ve made the decision to leave to experience new things and have new challenges. It’s been very hard for me to take this path, but I feel that it’s what I need. I wanted to thank you for all the love you’ve given me in these five years, in which I’ve won my first important trophies with a club. They were incredible moments that I will always remember. The truth is you’re in my heart", the footballer said.

The announcement comes as a surprise since the 28-year-old Frenchman, who spent his entire professional career in Spain, signed a five-year contract extension only last summer despite rumours that he might leave for Barcelona FC.

READ MORE: Griezmann Mocks Ramos, Celebrates Atletico's Win Over Real With Burger and Beer

As Griezmann broke the shocking news, the speculation that he's the number one target for Barcelona has returned to the spotlight — and it's been fuelled by an Italian reporter who tweeted that the Catalan club is ready to pay a whopping $140 million release clause for him.

This bombshell has triggered a massive Twitterstorm, with many social media users convinced that Griezmann is set to join Barcelona:

Though with a heavy heart, his loyal fans thanked the player for his contribution to Atletico's achievements and wished him luck:

Incidentally, some netizens pointed to a documentary, La Decision, from last summer in which Griezmann brought an end to rumours of a potential transfer to Barcelona by announcing he was staying at Atletico Madrid:

According to a report by Marca, Griezmann's release clause is currently $224 million, but will drop to $140 million on 1 July. The World Cup winner has played a crucial role for Atletico again this season, scoring 21 goals in all competitions to help them finish second behind Barcelona in La Liga, the primary football championship in Spain.

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