Illarramendi backs former team-mate Griezmann for big impact at Barcelona

Antoine Griezmann will quickly prove to be a "very important player" at Barcelona, according to ex-team-mate and former Real Madrid man Asier Illarramendi.

Griezmann, who played with Illarramendi at Real Sociedad, has left Atletico Madrid after five years in the capital to join Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez at Camp Nou.

The World Cup winner is the latest big-money Barca recruit since Neymar's sale to Paris Saint-Germain in 2017, with Ousmane Dembele and Philippe Coutinho - each bought for over €100million - failing to sparkle so far.

But Illarramendi does not see Griezmann having any issues fitting in with the Blaugrana after his work rate was honed by Atleti coach Diego Simeone.

"I think Griezmann has already shown what a good player he is," Illarramendi told Omnisport. "It is clear that he will contribute a lot to Barca.

"He works well, as we've already seen with Cholo [Simeone], as well as scoring goals, and I think he will be a very important player for Barca."

At Real Sociedad this season Illarramendi is set to link up with Martin Odegaard, another midfielder who struggled to have an impact for Madrid.

Odegaard became Madrid's youngest ever player in LaLiga when he featured at 16 in 2015 but he has yet to kick on, with a loan move to La Real hoped to provide a platform.

Illarramendi said of the 20-year-old: "I met him four years ago - I think he was 16 at the time - he was young and I was young, too. You could see he had good manners and he was a high quality player.

"Now four years have passed, he has already competed in the Dutch league.

"Even though we haven't played many games, you can see with the ball that he's a guy who has a lot of quality; without the ball, he also works very well.

"He has commitment, he works very well and I believe it'll be a good year for him."

Read Full Story

FROM OUR PARTNERS