Antoine Griezmann has admitted that he is especially motivated to score a goal when Atletico Madrid visit Barcelona on Sunday [4 March], but the Frenchman remains coy on the recurring speculation linking him with a summer move to the Nou Camp.
The France international ended up signing a new long-term contract at Atletico but transfer rumours have continued to circulate, with Mundo Deportivo revealing in October that Barcelona had earmarked his signing as a priority for the upcoming summer transfer window.
Indeed, in December Los Colchoneros reported the Catalans to Fifa for allegedly tapping up the forward after Mundo claimed that Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu had met with the Frenchman's family to discuss a proposed move.
Earlier this week, Sport suggested that the transfer to Barcelona is now merely a formality with the Catalans ready to trigger his €100m (£88.7m, $121.9m) release clause.
The Spanish publication said that Bartomeu had led negotiations to secure a deal which even includes a clause for one of the parties to pay a compensation fee in the event that they decide to break the agreement.
That news came only days before a La Liga clash between Atletico and Barcelona which could be decisive in the title race, with Los Colchoneros trailing the Catalans by four points following their 4-0 win over Leganes on Wednesday.
And questioned by reporters if he will play against Barcelona with a special motivation amid those rumours linking him with a switch to Catalonia, Griezmann tried to deflect the question and replied [as relayed by Cope]: "Yes [I will be especially motivated] because I have never scored a goal at the Camp Nou. Then I am eager to do it. I really want to score and celebrate a goal at the Nou Camp."
However, the Frenchman refused to commit his long-term future to Atletico when asked whether he sees himself at the Wanda Metropolitano or elsewhere next season.
"I'm very focused on trying to do something great with my club and with my national team," Griezmann replied. "I'm very focused on those two roles, I want to enjoy here and my national team. We have the Europa League, La Liga and the World Cup to play for. I don't want to think what can happen beyond that. Saying that, it doesn't mean that I'm going to leave next year because I've been saying the same thing for four years and I'm still here."
Relationship with fans
Griezmann fell out with some Atletico fans earlier in the season and last month he even made a silencing gesture to the crowd during the win over Valencia.
Simeone said then that fans should make every effort to convince the Frenchman to stay. Pressed if he also will do everything possible to continue at Atletico, Griezmann said: "Yes, as I said I am enjoying my football. My family [are happy] too and in the end that is the most important thing. My daughter has just started school.
"I'm enjoying, I'm still improving. I still have a lot to learn from Cholo [Simeone] and my teammates and I hope we can continue to be close to Barcelona."
Atletico fans have since returned to being supportive, with Griezmann repaying them by scoring a hat-trick in last weekend's 5-2 victory over Sevilla before adding four more in the defeat of Leganes.
Griezmann apologised to fans for his recent attitude and expressed hope of having their affection until his very last day at the club.
"I'm happy with my own performance, for the four goals but the most important thing is that we won the match and we will be going to Barcelona with morale high, let's see if we can do something nice up there. We've got 13 games left to play and we will try and win all of our remaining matches. Then we'll see where we end up in La Liga," he added.
"We have to enjoy the great moment we are in and try to give the fans more happiness. I might make mistakes [off the field] but I don't make any mistakes out on the pitch.
"[I might make mistakes] in everything, in what I said, in trying to silence the fans. These were moments in the match when I thought we had to keep hold of the ball. Now we are all enjoying ourselves, and hopefully I will have this affection [from the fans] until the end."