Barcelona coach, Ernesto Valverde, has urged the club’s fans not to subject Atletico Madrid striker, Antoine Griezmann, to jeers when the two clubs meet in Saturday’s La Liga clash.
With many Barca fans peeved that World Cup winner, Griezmann, who was strongly linked with joining Barca last year, opted to stay at Atletico, many are expecting them to make such feelings known.
With his future even discussed in a televised documentary produced by Gerard Pique’s company, many Barca fans feel betrayed that the diminutive striker opted to stay at the capital club.
However, Valverde would prefer that fans do not make Griezmann the centre of attention for the game, which could see Barca move 11 points clear at the top of the table.
“I want the fans to pay attention to us, not opposition players, supporting us and not looking at them,” Valverde told a news conference. “I don’t like when we go to other grounds and get booed, it’s like fans give more importance to the opposition than their own side, we the opposite.
“Every player is free to decide over their future, just like the clubs can decide who they keep. Everyone is free to take their decisions and it’s just another game for us. Griezmann is a great player so we’ll take care, but nothing more than that.
“I’m the coach of a team who tomorrow are playing another team in which there are other players and coaches. I don’t like to talk about players from other teams, just like I wouldn’t like it if the opposition coach talked about my team. It’s a question of respect,” the soft-spoken Barca coach said.