‘I see him sad, with his head down, running without much sense’: Antoine Griezmann’s former Real Sociedad boss says he has become ‘a caricature of himself’ at Barcelona after falling out of favour with Quique Setien
- Antoine Griezmann has failed to make the starting XI for Barcelona recently
- He started once in the last four games and has fallen down the pecking order
- Quique Setien was criticised for bringing him on for two minutes against Atletico
- His former manager Martin Lasarte believes he is now ‘a caricature of himself’
Antoine Griezmann has become ‘a caricature of himself’ during his time at Barcelona, according to the man who launched his career at Real Sociedad.
His former manager Martin Lasarte said he could see the forward’s struggles clearly after a lack of game time under manager Quique Setien and believes his low confidence has affected his form on the pitch.
The French World Cup winner signed for the Catalans in a £107million move from Atletico Madrid last summer, but he has not performed as many would have expected and has been linked with an exit from the Nou Camp.
Antoine Griezmann is looking like ‘a caricature of himself’ at Barcelona, his ex-manager says
Martin Lasarte admitted the forward is no longer the player he once was at the Spanish giants
He has scored eight goals from 28 starts in LaLiga this season and has fallen out of favour since the restart – starting just one game in the last four.
That run included a brief stoppage time appearance in the last game against former club Atletico. He was brought on for just two minutes in the 2-2 draw – provoking fury from his brother in a now-deleted Tweet saying: ‘Honestly, I am going to cry.’
And Lasarte, who gave Griezmann his debut at Sociedad and managed him for two years between 2009 and 2011, says Setien’s decision to sub him on so late only would have worsened the player’s mental state.
He has fallen out of favour with Quique Setien, who has started him once in the last four games
Lasarte said struggling Griezmann has been ‘running without much sense’ on the pitch
Theo Griezmann (L) slammed Setien for how he has treated his brother Antoine (R)
‘What you see of Griezmann is like a caricature of himself,’ he told Radio Marca. ‘I see him sad, with his head down, running without much sense.
‘The coach has every right to make changes whenever he wants but I do not feel the other night [against Atletico] helped Griezmann’s psychological situation.
‘When things don’t go well for a player, the coach should be there to support and help. Of course, Antoine will have his responsibility but there is an environment that does not help him to succeed.
‘It would have been better if he had gone to Barca a year earlier. I have the feeling that when he said he was staying at Atletico something broke with the Barca dressing room.’
There were big expectations for Griezmann after signing for Barca but it hasn’t gone to plan
Lasarte oversaw Griezmann’s progress as a youngster at the Basque outfit, playing him 39 times in his first season as he secured promotion from the Spanish second division.
Then still a teenager, he continued as first choice in his sophomore year under the Uruguyan, scoring seven goals in the 2010-11 campaign before Lasarte was sacked.
After the debacle between Setien and Griezmann, the Barca boss said he would speak to Griezmann but would ‘not apologise’ for only giving him a couple of minutes to make an impression.
His brother wasn’t the only member of the Griezmann family to be angered by the situation, as his father Alain criticised Setien on social media on Wednesday.
The Frenchman announced himself on the big stage while he was a youngster at Sociedad
‘To have this sort of conversation he needs to be the ones with the keys to the truck, and in this case, he’s just a passenger.’
Griezmann signed for Sociedad in 2005 as a youngster and went on to make 201 appearances for the club, scoring 52 goals. This form turned heads around Europe and Atletico snapped him up for 24 million in 2014.
In the Spanish capital he won three trophies, including the Europa League, and reached the Champions League final in 2016 – before he finally got his big move to Barcelona in July last year.