The promise of turning things for better at the Camp Nou seems to be withering away as the goal scoring form of Antoine Griezmann has taken a backseat. What started as a promising display of sportsmanship and clinical finishing on the pitch earlier this season, has now been clouded by a failure to communicate between the two unparalleled forwards of our generation – Griezmann and Lionel Messi.
The 28-year-old Frenchman has been facing a lot of heat due to his sloppiness on the pitch and has only been a recipient of a mere four goals in 15 appearances across all competitions. Giving the benefit of the doubt to the Blaugrana, Griezmann’s performances with his former club Atletico Madrid were spell binding where the Frenchman lead the attack for the Los Rojiblancos. Barcelona expected a similar performance from the Frenchman, but the star forward has failed to live up to his price tag of 120 million euros so far.
Many would argue that he is enduring a poor run of form but if you look closely, the bitter truth of his strained relationship with Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez is evident on the pitch.
The holy trinity is incomplete
FC Barcelona’s President Josep Maria Bartomeu's aspirations to have an MSN (Messi-Suarez-Neymar Jr) like effect from the very beginning has gone for a toss. Barcelona’s European adventures have been less than satisfactory with the most disappointing result coming against Slavia Prague at home in the Champions League.
The formidable attacking trio the club had in Neymar, Suarez and Messi seemed like an irreplaceable entity, but the lack of trust that both Messi and Suarez have on the Frenchman has drained the entire scheme of things. Messi has time and again refuted reports of any disparities with Griezmann, but the Argentinian forward seems to be going back on his words.
In the recently held encounter against Slavia Prague, there were only four passes between the pair of Messi and Griezmann, three of which came from Messi to the Frenchman. What’s more worrisome is the fact that in the four Champions League encounters this season, the duo has exchanged just 18 passes which is substantially low if considered the fluid passes exchanged between the forwards of various top clubs in Europe.
📊 — Lionel Messi → Antoine Griezmann: 4 passes— Barca Universal (@BarcaUniversal) November 5, 2019
Antoine Griezmann → Lionel Messi: 1 pass
Chemistry still in the build. [squawka] pic.twitter.com/pkim1mOk0x
"Messi is not someone who talks a lot, and neither am I, so it is a little difficult for us to communicate," a simple statement made by Griezmann a while back is now being echoed across clubs in Europe. The mood in the camp is still eerie and uneasy as far as Messi and Griezmann are considered and it tends to get worse witnessing Suarez and Messi stealing the limelight while the Frenchman waits for a miracle.
Lately, in a La Liga encounter against Celta Vigo, the lack of faith was prevalent when Messi ran down the pitch and into the opponent’s penalty area where Griezmann was waiting with ample of space on the left flank. The Argentinian didn’t acknowledge the presence of Griezmann on the left and took a shot which was deflected by the cross bar. It was just another night of superhuman abilities of Messi when he struck three goals, which included two sublime free kicks while Griezmann waited in the dark.
The chemistry is still lacking.
Was it a panic buy?
In order to fulfil the wish of the fans and continuous persuasion from club icons like Messi and Suarez, Barcelona were in full swing to bring Neymar back to the Camp Nou. But after the negotiations fell through, the need of rectifying that damage was evident as an ageing attack was a question that needed answers. Bartomeu convinced Griezmann for a move to Barcelona but the news of the transfer received mixed responses.
The fans weren’t entirely satisfied as they believed it was a compensatory signing for Neymar. But the crux of the matter remains as despite a dip in form, Griezmann’s transfer has not yet been entirely fruitful. If the club needs to regain their European glory, the club captain and the Frenchman needs to reconcile their differences and embark on tough waters together.
Feature image courtesy: AFP/ Jorge Guerrero