Griezmann joins De Gea, Totti and Gerrard among stars who stayed
David de Gea, Francesco Totti and Steven Gerrard are among the A-list players to stay at their clubs despite lengthy transfer sagas.
Antoine Griezmann has confirmed he is staying at Atletico Madrid, the club seeing off strong interest from LaLiga rivals Barcelona to keep their star player.
Griezmann announced his decision in a televised documentary on Thursday, with the forward now turning his attention to firing France to World Cup glory.
The 27-year-old said he has unfinished business at Atletico, who won the Europa League thanks to his double in the final against Marseille last month.
But after Griezmann’s lengthy transfer saga seemingly came to an end, how did four other global stars fare after staying at their clubs despite interest from others?
DAVID DE GEA
Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea has been the subject of huge speculation linking him with Real Madrid for years. De Gea has grown into arguably the world’s best goalkeeper at Old Trafford, without being able to win the Premier League again – to add to his 2012-13 title – or taste success in the Champions League. Madrid have won three successive Champions Leagues despite missing out on De Gea and they have reportedly turned their attention to Roma’s Brazilian goalkeeper Alisson for the 2018-19 campaign. De Gea, though, will surely not be content if United continue to lag behind rivals Manchester City.
New Rangers manager Steven Gerrard did not quite end his career as a one-club man, but he will go down in history as a Liverpool legend, having led the club to Champions League glory with one of football’s all-time great comebacks against AC Milan in Istanbul in 2005. But, following that dramatic success, Gerrard rejected a new contract at Anfield and looked certain to move to Chelsea, who were English champions at the time. The move did not go through and, in 2014, Gerrard notoriously slipped in a game against the Blues that effectively handed the title to Manchester City. He never won the Premier League at Liverpool.
Another man who will forever be linked to one club is Roma icon Francesco Totti. The former Italy international has confirmed he almost joined Real Madrid in 2003, instead opting to remain with the Giallorossi for the rest of his glittering playing career. The Serie A legend would not go on to add to the sole Scudetto he collected in the 2000-01 season, though, whereas he could have filled a trophy cabinet multiple times had he switched to Madrid when he had the chance.
Another Italian superstar, Gianluigi Buffon is a free agent after finally leaving Juventus following their latest Champions League disappointment. A move to Paris Saint-Germain has been mooted, but it will be odd to see the former Italy goalkeeper in another club’s shirt. Buffon was among the stars to stick with Juve after the club were relegated from the top division as punishment for the Calciopoli match-fixing scandal. Both Milan clubs and Arsenal were linked with the former Parma goalkeeper, but he stayed put and ended his Juve career with nine league titles, as well as four Coppa Italias.
Not many players turn down Barcelona, but that is exactly what Griezmann did in announcing his intention to stay at Atletico Madrid following the World Cup. Under Diego Simeone, Atletico have already won LaLiga once and reached a pair of Champions League finals, losing to city rivals Real Madrid on both occasions. Thomas Lemar is set to arrive from Monaco to bolster Atletico’s attacking options, but Griezmann might have to watch Barcelona and Real Madrid collect all the major trophies on offer in the coming years.