- Stream on ESPN+: LaLiga, Bundesliga, more (U. S. )David Villa (Barcelona to Atletico Madrid, €5. 1m, July 2013)Why he moved: By the time he joined Atletico, Villa had already starred for Real Zaragoza, Valencia and Barcelona and was recognised as one of Spain's best-ever forwards, all-time top scorer for the national team and a key part of the Euro 2008 and 2010 World Cup-winning squads. However, at 31 he was viewed as past his best. Barca had just signed Neymar for €86. 2m and also had Lionel Messi, Alexis Sanchez and Pedro to choose from up front. Meanwhile, Atletico needed a replacement for Radamel Falcao, who had just left for Monaco. How it worked out: Atletico won LaLiga, with Villa scoring 13 times. Atletico even clinched the 2013-14 title against Barca with a 1-1 draw at Camp Nou in their last game of the season.
Barcelona's transfers with Atletico Madrid have a habit of backfiring. Will Memphis be any different? Jan 20, 2023Alex KirklandESPN FC Memphis Depay's move from Barcelona to Atletico Madrid -- which was confirmed on Friday for €3m, plus another €1m in add-ons -- is the latest transfer involving two of LaLiga's biggest clubs in recent years. Without the animosity generated by the Clasico rivalry between Barcelona and Real Madrid, Barca and Atleti have been able to sit down to discuss a number of high-profile transfers, from a €120m move for Antoine Griezmann -- who has even gone in both directions (albeit for just €20m on the way back) -- to Luis Suarez, Arda Turan and David Villa. Looking at how those signings turned out, you wonder if Barcelona might be reluctant to do much business with Atletico in the future. Or could the Depay deal -- with Barca receiving a fee of up to €4m for a bit-part player at Camp Nou who could have left for nothing in the summer when his contract expired -- begin to turn the tide? Here's a look at the deals involving Barcelona and Atletico over the past 15 years, why they happened, and who ended up benefiting the most.
The summer of 2018 saw him agonise over a switch to Barcelona -- a process documented in his infamous documentary "The Decision" -- before deciding to stay, only to give the green light to a deal a year later. It was a controversial move, with Barcelona paying Griezmann's €120m release clause and Atletico claiming they were owed another €80m, believing Barca had agreed a deal with the player months earlier, when the clause was set at €200m. How it worked out: Not very well. Griezmann never settled at Camp Nou and there were difficulties integrating him into a team that already contained Messi as its focal point.
Suarez left when his contract expired in July 2022, returning home to Uruguay's Nacional before joining Brazilian side Gremio after the World Cup. play1:11Suarez: I deserved to be treated better by KoemanLuis Suarez speaks about his departure from Barcelona and why it hurts him to see what's happening at the club. Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid to Barcelona, €120m, July 2019)Why he moved: Griezmann was one of LaLiga's star players in his first spell at Atletico, with standout performances in 2015-16 -- when they reached their second Champions League final in three years -- and 2017-18, when he won the Europa League with Atletico and the World Cup with France.
It was an ugly end to a spell which saw Suarez form part of an iconic front three with Messi and Neymar, winning four LaLiga titles and a Champions League, while establishing himself as the club's third-highest all-time top scorer with 198 goals in 283 games. After a move Juventus broke down, a deal was agreed with Atletico. How it worked out: It happened again! Atletico won LaLiga in 2020-21 thanks to Suarez's 21 goals, including the crucial second in a 2-1 win at Real Valladolid which secured the title. Suarez didn't have quite the same impact in his second season, scoring 11 times in LaLiga as Atletico finished third, but his contribution in that first year -- motivated by a desire to demonstrate that Barca were wrong to ditch him -- makes him among the best value signings Spanish football has ever seen.
Griezmann wasn't an abject failure, but neither did he live up to his Atletico form and reputation. In his two seasons at Barcelona, the team finished behind Real Madrid and Atletico in LaLiga and were heavily beaten by Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League. Griezmann's return of nine league goals in 2019-20 was his worst in eight years, although he did a little better in 2020-21, finding the net 13 times. play2:21The 'ridiculous' reason why Griezmann isn't starting for AtleticoJulien Laurens explains why Antoine Griezmann is yet to start for Atletico Madrid in LaLiga this season. Antoine Griezmann (Barcelona to Atletico Madrid, loan in August 2021, made permanent in October 2022)Why he moved: After failing to live up to expectations in two years at Camp Nou, Griezmann returned to Atletico on a two-year loan in a deal which was concluded on deadline day on Aug.
Barcelona's transfers with Atletico Madrid tend to backfire