The 2019 MLS All-Star Game presented by Target will be without one of its biggest stars, as Atletico Madrid announced Tuesday that this weekend’s match against Levante will be the last for French forward Antoine Griezmann.
Griezmann, 28, is rumored to be heading to fellow La Liga club Barcelona after signing a five-year contract ahead of last summer’s FIFA World Cup. Shortly after, France beat Croatia to raise the trophy.
"I have decided to leave, see other things, have other challenges and with great difficulty, this is what I feel and I need,” Griezmann said. “It's been five great years where I've won my first important trophies with a club. It's been a very important stage.
"I have enjoyed a lot, I have left everything in the field, I have tried to behave well, I have tried to give joy to the people who have come to the Metropolitano and also away from home, and I only have gratitude for all of you."
Heading into his final Atleti match, Griezmann has 133 goals and 50 assists through 256 matches. He also has 28 goals in 69 appearances for Les Blues.
While this year’s All-Star Game, scheduled for July 31 in Orlando, Fla., has lost Griezmann, the Frenchman has been linked to the Sunshine State in years past. He’s made his love affair with American sports culture well known, often commenting on MLS Instagram posts.
“They have a different mindset. I love the NBA and the show business aspect of it,” Griezmann said in an interview last year. “I want to play in MLS. I'd like to finish my career there.”
There have also been tempting comments from Inter Miami CF co-owner David Beckham. The admiration, at face value, seems tangible for the expansion club, which is set to begin play in 2020.
"It's always nice to have great players want to come and play for our team," Beckham told ESPN FC. "He's such a great player. I'm a fan of his, he's a fan of mine, so maybe one day he will be gracing the building in Miami and that's what we want."