The older a player gets, the more careful he has to be with his decisions and the career paths he takes because it can make a monumental difference since you no longer have time on your side to turn it around. And a very good example of that is French attacker Antoine Griezmann, who by and large has struggled during his time at FC Barcelona and it is worth asking what his future is and what the best path is for him.
It is hard to not have a bit of sympathy for Antoine Griezmann. The Frenchman arrived to FC Barcelona to win more trophies and to reach a higher status in his career, but many different situations have made his time at the Camp Nou very troubling and inconsistent, often struggling to hit form and clashing a lot with the team’s superstar, Lionel Messi.
This week Griezmann had his moment in the spotlight by leading Barcelona in their 3-5 victory over Granada in the Copa del Rey, having scored two goals and assisting two more. It was vintage Atletico Madrid Griezmann, but those types of commanding performances have been a rarity at Barcelona. So there is a very valid argument that his best future is leaving the Catalan club.
The reality is that the former Real Sociedad man was never a good fit for Barcelona. Not only Griezmann moves in very similar areas to Messi, thus making Antoine’s moves all the more unnatural to his usual game, but he also thrived at Simeone’s Atletico because he played as the second striker in a 4-4-2. Barcelona usually play with a 4-3-3 or a 4-2-3-1, which doesn’t suit Griezmann’s game.
So far he has 27 goals in 77 games, which is not bad, but certainly way less than what was expected of him. And you can tell how his reputation has taken a huge toll and there are a lot of questions marks about him cutting it or not at Barcelona. The club is in a very bad situation on a sports and financial level and Ronald Koeman’s rebuild (or lack thereof) has resulted in an inconsistent system where Griezmann struggles even more.
And while there is the possibility of Lionel Messi leaving Barcelona at the end of the season, thus giving the club the chance to build the team around Griezmann, the reality seems to be quite different and the board that is chosen in their upcoming elections in March would probably want to fix their dire financial situation, so offloading Antoine could be a very likely outcome to get a bit of income and get rid of his salary.
I actually think that is the best decision for Griezmann. He is still 29, close to 30, and could still deliver for a couple of seasons at another club, so the best outcome should be him leaving Barcelona and just accept that things didn’t work out. It happens.