The striker left the capital for Camp Nou in a controversial deal but his former team-mate says his critics have no reason to be angry
Diego Costa says Antoine Griezmann does not deserve to be criticised for leaving Atletico Madrid to join Barcelona, saying it was the striker’s dream to play with Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi.
The France international joined the Catalan side in a €120m (£108m/$135m) summer move after they triggered the release clause in his contract.
The transfer has proved controversial as Atletico claim they are owed a further €80m from Barca, arguing their rivals reached an agreement with Griezmann when the clause in his contract was €200m.
Furthermore, his decision to announce the move in a video just a year after reiterating his commitment to the club amid constant links to Barca also raised eyebrows.
But Costa says the deal was a dream come true for the 28-year-old and urged his critics to accept his decision.
“[Griezmann’s] dream was to play with [Lionel] Messi and [Luis] Suarez,” the 30-year-old said to Que Partidazo.
“As a footballer you always want to test yourself and it is normal that he would want to play there, to see if he can be an important player as he was at Atleti.
“We cannot say anything bad.”
He added: “If all that with the video hadn’t happened, it would have been a quiet exit.”
Atletico splashed out a club record €126m (£113m/$142m) to sign Joao Felix from Benfica as Griezmann’s replacement.
The 19-year-old attacker has one goal and one assist from his first three games in La Liga, helping the capital club go top of the table with a perfect record early in the season.
And Costa has been impressed by the Portugal international, saying he is a modest character but a gifted talent.
“When he arrived, you could tell he was a quiet person who listens. He doesn’t act like a star, and that is good,” he said.
“That’s how it is in our dressing room. When a person arrives and sees that the dressing room is quiet, he enters that dynamic.
“He arrived here and showed his quality against Real Madrid, against Juventus, in training.
“The people can see that he has a gift.”