CL: Barcelona's Antoine Griezmann wants to connect with Lionel Messi

Updated: Oct 02, 2019, 08:49 IST | AFP |

Barcelona forward Antoine Griezmann admits he's been unable to connect with superstar Lionel Messi as Spanish giants prepare to host Inter tonight

Barcelona's Lionel Messi (left) and Antoine Griezmann train on the eve of their UEFA Champions League tie against Inter yesterday. Pic/AFP
Barcelona's Lionel Messi (left) and Antoine Griezmann train on the eve of their UEFA Champions League tie against Inter yesterday. Pic/AFP

Barcelona: Antoine Griezmann has found it "difficult" to connect with Lionel Messi at Barcelona so far, while coach Ernesto Valverde admits he will take no risks with the injured Argentine against Inter Milan tonight.

Messi has started only one game so far this season but is close to recovering from a thigh strain ahead of Barca's second Champions League group match at Camp Nou. Griezmann has had to carry the mantle in Messi's absence but is yet to hit top form after joining the club from Atletico Madrid for 120 million euros last summer. He has three goals in eight matches so far.

There were also doubts around how he would be welcomed after key players were believed to have been unimpressed by how the Frenchman rejected a move to Barcelona in 2018. "In the end, Messi is not someone who talks a lot and neither do I so it has been difficult," Griezmann said. "I have already given him some mate [tea] and we are heading in the right direction. He has been injured a lot so it is difficult to establish and improve this connection. But we are good guys, two good people, and I am here to help anyone on the team."

Valverde said there was "nothing unusual" about the atmosphere in the dressing room, adding: "We have to try to pull in the same direction especially if controversies come from outside, not inside the club." Griezmann said: "It is like all dressing rooms, there are some players that when they speak, people listen more but it is nothing out of the
ordinary."

Griezmann added: "I am learning a different philosophy of playing and a different position. You have to learn, improve, adjust your movements. In two months, you cannot have it 100 per cent. My teammates want the best out of me. I want that too, I demand the best of myself every day and I think I'm on the right track."

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