Atletico Madrid CONFIRM Antoine Griezmann is leaving as Barcelona plan swoop

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The France international has been linked with a mega-money move away from Atletico Madrid for several years.

Last summer, speculation was rife the forward would leave the Vincente Calderon for Spanish giants Barcelona.

Griezmann, however, ended up staying in Madrid, announcing his decision to remain with the club in an hour-long video.

But a little less than a year after committing his future to Diego Simeone’s side, he’s decided to leave the club.

Atletico announced his impending departure on Twitter on Tuesday afternoon, to the shock of many.

“@AntoGriezmann He has informed the club that he will not continue as rojiblanco next season,” their tweet read.

Griezmann currently has a £108million (€125million) release clause, a fee which was decided after he penned a new five-year deal last summer.

And in order to facilitate his departure from the Wanda Metropolitano, the Frenchman has agreed to pay his release clause before the deadline as is normal practice in Spain.

Griezmann’s next destination is expected to be Barcelona, who have been linked with a move for the 28-year-old for the last three years.

The Catalan giants will then reimburse the former Real Sociedad man for stumping up the cash to pay his release clause.

And according to Italian journalist Fabrizio Romano, Barca are already in negotiations with the World Cup winner over a summer move to the Nou Camp.

He tweeted: “Barcelona are now ready to pay €125M release clause for Antoine Griezmann.

“Talks ongoing with the player about the contract to finalize the deal (5 years). New meeting on next days.”

Griezmann issued a statement on his imminent departure in a lengthy video on Atletico’s official Twitter account, in which he thanked the club’s fans for all the support they’ve given him down the years.

He said: “It has been five incredible years, thank you very much for everything, I carry you in my heart. I wanted to tell you that I have made the decision to leave, to face new things, new challenges.

“I have to leave, I want to see new places and face new challenges, it’s what I need now.”

The announcement of Griezmann’s Atletico departure comes a little over two months after his fellow countryman and Barcelona defender Samuel Umtiti claimed he regretted not joining the Spanish champions.

“In our careers, we have to take decisions that we sometimes regret,” Umtiti told French TV programme Telefoot.

“I would be glad if Griezmann came to Barcelona, he has a place here.

“I know Antoine is very happy in Madrid and that he is very well there. He is at a team that plays for him.”

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