Antoine Griezmann is still adapting to life at Barcelona, according to Eric Abidal, who feels the struggling forward has yet to unleash his full potential at Camp Nou.
Griezmann’s performances have been heavily scrutinised by the Barca faithful since his €120 million ($133m,/£103m) transfer from Atletico Madrid this summer.
The 28-year-old has scored a modest four goals in 11 La Liga appearances and only one in his last six domestic outings, leaving him vulnerable to criticism from an expectant crowd.
Griezmann has often been forced to play on the left-wing for Barca, with Luis Suarez still Ernesto Valverde’s first choice through the middle.
The World Cup winner was used to being the main man in Diego Simeone’s line up at Atletico, but at Barca, he has had to adapt his game to fit in with a world-class attacking contingent which also includes five-time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi.
Club legend Abidal acknowledges that Griezmann is “not at his best” at the moment, but remains confident he still has plenty to offer the Spanish champions if he focuses on improving behind the scenes.
The Barca technical director told SPORT: “He knows it’s complicated to adapt. Here the movements are different, but he’s a player that can add a lot and the coach knows that.
“Defensively he brings a lot and he can play in many positions. He came because he wants to win the Champions League.
“He knows he’s not at his best and that’s only fixed by working hard. Griezmann is an intelligent player and the important thing is to know what you can add to the team in the position you are playing.”
Abidal added on Griezmann needing more time to adjust to Barca’s unique style of play: “It is very difficult to handle. The solution is to work. Time will tell.
“Here have come top players who did not adapt the first year. You have to be patient. The philosophy of Barca is not so easy.”
It has been suggested that the former Atletico superstar doesn’t see eye to eye with Messi at Camp Nou, with a clear understanding between the pair on the pitch lacking in the first few months of the 2019-20 campaign.
However, Barcelona defender Clement Lenglet moved to squash any rumours of tension between the pair last week, insisting Griezmann is still settling into his new surroundings.
Valverde’s men will take in a trip to Leganes next Saturday for their first La Liga fixture after the international break, before focus shifts back to the Champions League.
Borussia Dortmund are due to arrive at Camp Nou on November 27, with top spot in Group H still very much up for grabs as both teams vie for a place in the last-16.