UPDATE: The show, which lasted more than a half-hour, was as absurd as expected, and Griezmann chose to stay at Atletico Madrid.
Antoine Griezmann has said he would make a decision on his club future before the start of the World Cup. And in one sense, he’ll do that on Thursday. But the manner in which he’ll pick between his current club, Atletico Madrid, and his top suitor, Barcelona, is already the subject of controversy.
Because Griezmann is not just going to make any decision. He’s going to make “The Decision.”
Griezmann will announce who he’ll play for in 2018-19 on a Spanish television show roughly two hours after the conclusion of the 2018 World Cup opener. He and Movistar, the TV network, promoted the show as “#LaDecisión”:
"Estaréis hartitos por los comentarios que dicen si me voy, si me quedo, cuánto me dan… Pero la verdad es la que voy a decir ahora". #LaDecisión de @antogriezmann, hoy a las 21.15h SÓLO en @cero. pic.twitter.com/lZOb47itC6
— Movistar+ (@MovistarPlus) June 14, 2018
“The truth is what I’m going to say now,” Griezmann says in “La Decisión” promo video before it cuts off and fades to black.
And if the name sounds eerily familiar, that’s because it’s identical – albeit in a different language – to the one LeBron James staged in 2010, when, as a free agent, he ultimately decided to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers and join the Miami Heat.
And Griezmann is a massive NBA fan, so it wouldn’t be surprising to learn that LeBron’s “The Decision” was the inspiration behind Griezmann’s.
Now the question is, will Griezmann’s actual decision be similar to LeBron’s? Will he leave his current club, with whom his come close to Champions League glory, in order to achieve it? Or will he stay at Atleti, where he’s risen to stardom?
Griezmann remains under contract at Atleti, but has a $116 million release clause in that contract. Barcelona would happily trigger that clause for the 27-year-old Griezmann. But it needs the French forward to agree to the transfer.
At least Griezmann will get The Decision out of the way two days before he opens his personal World Cup campaign, with France against Australia on Saturday morning.
But the overshadowing of the opening day of the greatest sporting event in the world by a multi-million-dollar personal decision is sure to anger traditionalists, just as the manner of LeBron’s decision in 2010 angered many. It’s unclear what exactly Griezmann’s show will entail. It won’t be at a Boys & Girls Club, and it may not even be live; it may just be a pre-recorded video. But either way, some will find it distasteful.
Griezmann will make La Decisión at 3:15 p.m. ET.
– – – – – – –
More World Cup coverage from Yahoo Sports:
• 2018 World Cup preview hub
• 2018 World Cup contenders, tiered and ranked 1-32
• How will Russia’s many problems affect the World Cup?
• Ranking the top 100 players at the World Cup
• FC Yahoo Mixer: The Ronaldo vs. Messi debate