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Antoine Griezmann gives Barcelona a glimpse of the future

A decent debut from the Frenchman

Barcelona v Chelsea - Preseason Friendly Photo by Masashi Hara/Getty Images

So we finally got to see Antoine Griezmann in a Barcelona shirt.

A year in the waiting, and transfer shenanigans notwithstanding, when the Frenchman took to the pitch in Japan wearing the Blaugrana, it was long overdue.

Forty-five minutes later, and after surviving an horrendous two-footed challenge from Jorginho, Griezmann had got the pulses racing.

We all knew what he was capable of after his few years at Atletico Madrid, but how would he fare in the Barca set-up?

He’d said in the week that he’d always admired the Catalans’ style of play and that he would ensure he adapted, but not even the bravest amongst us would’ve predicted how well his opening gambit would be.

Frankly, he was excellent.

His movement was first class, as was his passing range and I don’t think it’s too much of a reach to suggest it looked like he’d played there for ages.

Comfortable in possession, he took responsibility from the start and always looked to play in his team-mates with simple balls.

We can’t base everything on 45 minutes of course, but it was a more than encouraging start, and Cules wondering how on earth Ernesto Valverde would be able to find a slot for him probably got their answer against Chelsea.

Floating around and taking defenders with him each time will mean that there will be a huge amount of space he will open up to allow for a rapier-like burst from Messi.

That ability can’t be downplayed and is likely to become a vital tool in the way Barca’s forward line go about their work.

Whether he also needs to weigh in with goals is a moot point at this stage because it will largely depend on the XI that Valverde picks for each game.

Griezmann’s intelligence, particularly off the ball, could be just as much of a weapon as goals scored.

Played in front of a crowd full of tourists, the match against Chelsea didn’t really offer any indication as to the ‘welcome’ that the French World Cup winner will receive in Catalonia.

There are still a lot of Cules that are unwilling to forgive the player for his actions of last summer, however, if Griezmann can carry on in the same way as he did against the west Londoners, the naysayers will soon settle down.

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