Antoine Griezmann reveals why he turned down a move to Barcelona

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Staying at Atletico: Antoine Griezmann

Antoine Griezmann has opened up on why he turned down a move to Barcelona, saying he felt completely at home at Atletico Madrid.

The French forward was heavily linked with a switch to the La Liga champions but decided to stay with Atletico in an announcement that was broadcasted in a documentary just prior to the World Cup in Russia.

Speaking to L’Equipe magazine, Griezmann said: “When you’re shown love at home, you don’t go elsewhere.

“They did everything possible to make me feel good, including bringing in important players and building a great team.”

He admitted it was difficult to say no to Barcelona but says there was no reason to move given he felt completely at home at Atletico.

“I feel like the base… or the most important piece of the puzzle, that is what made me stay,” he said.

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Spanish Federation president Luis Rubiales slams La Liga for trying to 'invade' USA

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Not a fan: Luis Manuel Rubiales

Spanish Football Federation president Luis Rubiales has described LaLiga plans to stage a game in America next January as “an invasion of that country”.

Girona said on Thursday they were “working with the league and Barcelona” about what is thought to be a match in Miami on January 27.

Last month, the Spanish players’ union (AFE) held a meeting with a host of top stars, including Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos and Barcelona’s Sergio Busquets, and afterwards said it was unanimously against a proposal to place games outside of Spain.

LaLiga has agreed a 15-year deal with US media company Relevent to promote football in North America.

But Rubiales has hit out at LaLiga president Javier Tebas with comments that will turn up the heat on the controversial plans.

“Javier Tebas spoke to everyone except the people he had to speak to,” Rubiales told The Guardian. “It’s a total lack of respect, unfaithful and incomprehensible.

“This president demands a lot from others when his own behaviour, frankly, leaves a lot to be desired. We’ve not had even a single call.

“I haven’t seen the contract, so I can’t say much, but I will say this: the Fifa president protects domestic competition, and taking competition somewhere else represents an invasion of that country.

“He (Tebas) has totally ignored the players and even the clubs, signing a contract with a private country for 10 or 15 years. His behaviour was terrible.

Not a fan either: Rivaldo

Not a fan either: Rivaldo

“He has signed an agreement that it is not up to him to sign. What he has signed is worthless. It means nothing without our authorisation, so we will see what happens to this game.”

Former Barcelona star Rivaldo, meanwhile, has criticised moves to take the game abroad.

Ex-Brazil international Rivaldo, who made more than 150 appearances during a trophy-laden five-year spell at Barcelona, said: “In my opinion, the decision to play LaLiga matches in the USA is already a serious issue that raises lot of questions.

“I think that taking games to the US is wrong and seriously damages Spanish fans and players. Most of the fans won’t be able to attend the game.”

Rivaldo, also pointed towards Spanish football’s domestic season scheduling as another problem emanating from the proposal.

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What time does the first Clasico of 2018/19 La Liga season kick off?

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The first Clasico of the 2018/19 La Liga season will be played on Sunday, October 28, with Barcelona hosting Real Madrid in one of football’s most iconic clashes.

La Liga has confirmed the game will kick off at 16:15 CET (19:15 UAE) as LFP president Javier Tebas confirmed to Jose Ramon de la Morena on Onda Cero radio show El Transistor.

In the week beforehand both teams have Champions League games – with Los Blancos hosting Czech side Viktoria Plzen on Tuesday and Barca welcoming Inter Milan to the Camp Nou the following evening – so Sunday was the obvious choice of day to play.

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