The moment of Antoine Griezmann's departure to Barcelona was televised live, 393 days after the Frenchman announced his decision to reject Barcelona and stay in a television documentary with Atlético Madrid. On Friday it was just 13.00 clock, when his legal representative arrived at the headquarters of La Liga and a silver suitcase rolled into the building. There he deposited the repurchase clause in the amount of 1
Griezmann's new contract has a term of five years and contains a repurchase clause – a legal provision in Spain – worth 800 million euros. For all twists in the plot, the crossed words and accusations, this signing was fixed from the beginning. It would only end in one direction, and when it took longer than expected, it was completed when Griezmann's lawyer, Sevan Karian, arrived at the headquarters of La Liga – though Atlético says that 120 million euros are insufficient and claims the true value is 200 million euros.
The clause dropped to 120 million euros earlier this month, but Barcelona had hoped to find a negotiated solution rather than being forced to pay at once. Atlético denied this and publicly accused Barcelona and the French in a statement demanding that he report for training last Sunday. This happened even though Atlético had asked to record a video announcing his intention to leave on May 14, even though Griezmann did not have his legal 30-day holiday and, despite using the money, João Félix for 126 million Signing Euro, handed him Griezmanns No. 7 jersey.
Griezmann will be training for Monday – in Barcelona. Luis Suárez and Lionel Messi will not be there, but how well he suits them will be crucial to his success at Camp Nou.
It is not clear where he fits – his natural playing position is the same as that of Messi – and there were some suggestions that these two would rather hear from Neymar of Paris Saint-Germain.
There was a feeling of discomfort in Barcelona when he returned to a player who so publicly rejected her 13 months ago. However, most of their followers will celebrate this commitment following the shameful defeat in Anfield's Champions League. It's one they've been following for a while.
Barcelona approached Griezmann for the first time last year, realizing that its buyout clause would temporarily drop to 100 million euros. They were willing to pay that amount, unilaterally dismissing him from his contract and agreeing to personal terms. Thus, Griezmann's future remained in his own hands, and his reflections became the focus of a documentary entitled La Decisión in which he – in soft focus and stylish shots – is tormented by the decision to make : Stay or go?
Over a 30-minute period, the audience gets a glimpse into Griezmann's reflections on his future, how he looks thoughtful at the dining table, plays basketball, is thoughtful on the plane, and pensive on a horse.
"I do not know what to do," he often says, but at the end of the film, which was shown on Sunday a year ago, he finally announces his decision to stay with Atlético. He called Barcelona to apologize: their board did not know that the documentary was filmed, even though the production company is partly owned by Gerard Piqué, their center.
Griezmann signed an improved contract worth € 20 million a year after tax at Atlético, but that was anything but final: the new contract contained a € 200 million buyout clause, but on 1 July would fall again. This explicitly allowed for an exit if the player requested one, and invited the applicants to re-employ. Once they got the signal, they did just that.
Griezmann may not have regretted having extended another season, but he soon decided he wanted to leave, so the deal was resumed after 12 months for 20 € million more. The same amount that Atlético had spent on him last season.
Finally, his season was disappointing, which contributes to his parting farewell. Atlético had strengthened the team to convince him to stay, and they ended again in front of Real Madrid in the league, but that was not enough.
The legacy plays a big role in the documentary, Griezmann is aware of the fact that history was written at Atlético, while success would be shared elsewhere. But that only requires success and did not come. He admitted that living in Messiah's shadow had been a factor in his decision to stay, but he thought again. There is a parallel to Neymar's departure to PSG, the Brazilian recognition that playing with Messi casts more light than shadow.
The season was dominated by the Champions League: the focus of the documentary, Atlético's obsession and the competition whose final would take place in their Wanda Metropolitano. This became a goal and, in the broader sense, a kind of watershed – it's almost as if the Frenchman, like some sort of crime fighter, is convinced that he is doing his last job, the largest ever.
It did not work out and it is no coincidence that Griezmann, if you believe Atlético's allegations – and his new club will not recognize it – agreed in the days following the defeat of Atlético against Juventus at Barça last 16  There was still a long way to go, and perhaps there are still arguments in front of us, but basically it was done. On May 14, Griezmann recorded a video on a phone in which he said he would leave, but he did not say where he would go. He could not and he did not tell them, though Atlético said they knew it.
All that had to be done was to wait until the value of the buyout clause dropped as planned. Thirteen days later, cameras caught a man strolling into a building with 120 million euros.