Spanish champions Barcelona announced the signing of striker Antoine Griezmann on Friday for €120 million ($135 million) from a fuming Atletico Madrid, who said the Catalan club had not paid enough to trigger the player's release clause.
France forward Griezmann, 28, rejected a move to Barcelona last year but announced in May that he was leaving Atletico, where he has spent the last five seasons since signing from Real Sociedad in 2014.
Barca have been trying to lure Griezmann to the Nou Camp since November 2017, but the forward signed a new five-year deal with Atletico in June 2018 that had a €200 million buy-out clause, which dropped to €120 million on July 1 this year.
Atletico said that Griezmann's May 14 announcement that he was leaving the club is proof a deal had already been struck between the player and Barcelona before his buy-out clause dropped.
"Atletico Madrid considers that the deposited amount is insufficient to cover (Griezmann's) buyout clause, since it is obvious that the agreement between the player and FC Barcelona was closed before the clause was reduced from 200 million euros to 120 million euros," the club said in a statement.
"It was also prior to the date on which the clause was modified the communication that the player made on May 14 announcing his disassociation from the club.
"Atletico Madrid believes the termination of the contract happened before the end of the last season due to facts, acts and demonstrations made by the player, and therefore has already initiated procedures it has deemed appropriate to protect their rights and lawful interests."