There was heavy speculation that Griezmann, who had earlier remained loyal to Atletico during the club’s transfer ban, would be moving to Camp Nou in a €100m deal.
But the Frenchman, who went on to win the World Cup in July, resisted the chance, even though admitting it was ‘very hard’ to do so in an interview with Canal+.
“You have Barça who want you, who calls you, who sends messages. But then there is the club where you are, where you are an important player and where they build a project around you,” Griezmann commented as he explained his decision.
“Unconsciously, being Messi’s lieutenant may have played a part. But my teammates and club people did everything, they came to talk to me, increased my salary. They did everything to show that it was my house and that I shouldn’t leave,” he said.
“It was really complicated, especially for my wife where I woke her up at 3am to talk about it.”
Barcelona eventually made Brazilian winger Malcom their only attacking signing of the summer after swooping in at the 11th hour to stop him from joining Roma.
Having failed to persuade Griezmann to make the move, the club remain linked with a seismic return for Neymar after he left in a €222m move to Paris Saint-Germain in 2017 and Camp Nou official Pep Segura recently refused to rule out the possibility.