Antoine Griezmann is just as happy playing for Barcelona as he is for France despite rumours of dressing room unrest amid an underwhelming start at the Catalan giants, his club and national side team-mate Clement Lenglet said on Tuesday.
“I am with him at the club and he is very happy there too. He’s someone who is smiling every day and that doesn’t change when he arrives in the French team,” Lenglet told reporters ahead of France’s Euro 2020 qualifiers against Iceland and Turkey.
“He makes the most of everything, he loves making jokes and he doesn’t change whether he’s with the French team or Barcelona.”
Griezmann was left on the bench for Barca’s 4-0 drubbing of Sevilla on Sunday after failing to live up to his 120 million-euro ($135 million) price tag in the opening weeks of the season, scoring three goals in nine games.
Lionel Messi has also denied suggestions of a rift between him and the Frenchman, who joined from Atletico Madrid in July, as he struggles to find a settled position in Ernesto Valverde’s three-man forward line.
“For me, he’s a player that has just arrived — and at a club like Barca, who play a little differently from other clubs — and he’s already scored three goals. He works a lot for the team.
“He helps us a lot with his talent, with his defensive effort, because he is a player who sacrifices a lot for the team. I don’t think there is any problem with Antoine Griezmann.”
Griezmann was replaced in Barca’s starting line-up against Sevilla by another French forward, Ousmane Dembele, who scored before being sent off for dissent late on.
Dembele will miss the clash with Real Madrid on October 26 if banned for two games, continuing a disjointed start to the campaign for the 22-year-old, who has already sat out six games this term through injury.
“If he gets consistent game time, he is a player who has all the qualities to play for the French team,” said Lenglet, who is expected to start France’s Euro 2020 qualifiers against Iceland on Friday and Turkey on Monday.
“Unfortunately he got this red card that will slow him down a bit again. He has a lot of talent, he’s unpredictable, he has qualities that are quite unusual. But it takes experience so he can play matches and perform.”