It’s tough being a new Barcelona signing, more so one that came for huge money coupled with a big reputation on his shoulders. That is the case of new boy Antoine Griezmann. When you make a move to the Catalan side, it’s not enough to please the coach and the fans but the most important key to succeed is to ensure your relationship with a certain Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez must be nothing short of a 100%. You’ll be luckier if your initials do fit with their names (thankfully MSG: Messi Suarez Griezmann) sounds pleasant but that has not been translated on the pitch up until now.
It hasn’t been smooth sailing for Griezmann so far but his ship is starting to balance just at the right time. Despite being accustomed to the La Liga already, it seemed that Griezmann’s time at Barcelona was doomed from very start. Key members of the Blaugrana squad, including Lionel Messi, were meant to prefer the return of Neymar over his arrival. Others were reportedly angered by his indulgent ‘The Decision’ documentary that put off his move to Catalonia from Atletico Madrid for another year.
In Messi and Suarez’s absence through injury, he made a decent start to life at his new club by notching three goals but then difficulties crept in when the trio – known as MSG – had to star together. Hauled off in the second half against Inter Milan in the Champions League, and admitting to integration problems with Messi and Suarez upfront in the press conference that preceded it didn’t make anything better. To compound it further, the impact of his replacement Ousmane Dembélé had much to do with their side’s reversal of fortunes and its eventual 2-1 win in the game.
In Bareclona’s next outing, a 4-0 demolition of Sevilla before the international break, Dembele got the nod once again and starred in a 4-0 win with a dazzling display (bar that red card that raised eyebrows). Griezmann could only cut a devastated look from the bench and with the El Clasico only few weeks away (at the time), it surely looked like Griezmann was set to warm the sidelines for some time. Fortunately (for no one but Griezmann), Dembele got a red card coupled with a two-match-ban and the opportunity for him to impress was open once again.
He took that opportunity by it’s neck and the positive reviews are coming in once again – deservedly. Latching on to a long ball from fellow Frenchman Clement Lenglet and converting after 13 minutes, Griezmann ran over to Suarez and Messi to celebrate suggesting that their relationship off the pitch may be improving. On it however, where cohesion is most important, Griezmann is evidently able to boast an increased understanding of Messi and Suarez no better seen than the assist he provided for the Argentine for Barça’s second in the 3-0 win over Eibar.
The Griezmann♾Messi♾Suarez connection has lift-off 🚀 pic.twitter.com/N1Asg7RcPg
— Sport360° (@Sport360) October 20, 2019
As part of a move started by Frenkie de Jong, Suarez also touched it before Griezmann had obviously anticipated Messi’s move and cooly laid it off to him with the outside of his foot.
Suarez sealing the points, this was the first time that all three components of MSG had featured and scored together giving a clear indication that the consortium is beginning to find its feet and could kick on from here.
As for Griezmann individually, no Barcelona player (joint-tied with Suarez) has been involved in more than the seven goals he has already in 2019/2020 with four scored and three assisted (Whoscored).
“Of course, there will be good days and bad,’ he told MARCA post-match. ‘But today was a good performance and I’m pleased. I’m still adjusting to playing here, and that will take time. We [Messi, Suarez and he] need to understand each other even better, but that will come with minutes and matches”
With the El Clasico now postponed (due to protests) till the 18thM of December as per a report on Real Madrid’s website, the MSG trio will have even more time to gel and can be in devastating mode at the time – all things going well. On a general note, Barcelona will play the likes of Borussia Dortmund, Inter Milan, Atletico and Real Madrid within a one month period starting from 27th November (Skysports) and Valverde will need as much firepower as he can get to overcome all of these sides.
If Dembele’s consistent knock for first team action is what pushes him to be consistent and in the same vein keeps Griezmann on his toes, it would be a win-win situation for the club as the two players would try to outdo each other with each chance they get.
They are also teammates in the French national side so however they see it, their fates are somewhat intertwined.
Barcelona face Slavia Prague away in the Champions League on Wednesday. In the La Liga, up next is Valladolid at home where the attacking line – with Dembélé still unavailable – Griezmann is sure to start yet again and enjoy further target practice against 14th-placed opposition.