Facts you didn’t know about Le Petit Prince, Antoine Griezmann
The winger made his professional debut in 2009 with Real Sociedad and joined the French national team in 2014. After five years with Real Sociedad, he became a member of Atletico Madrid in 2014. He won the 2018 World Cup with France, and he has joined Barcelona since 2019.
Although many perceive Griezmann as a goal-hungry striker, he wouldn't be playing at the Nou Camp if he didn't believe in the power of teamwork.
The followings are some lesser known facts about Antoine Griezmann:
Antoine Griezmann, born 21 March 1991, is a French professional footballer who plays as a forward for the Spanish club Barcelona and the French national team. Griezmann was born to a father of German descent and a mother of Portugese descent.
As a kid, Griezmann began his career by playing for the hometown club UF Macon. During his time with the club, he embarked on several trials in many professional clubs, but he failed to earn a spot because of his light frame and size.
At age 13, when Griezmann was on trial playing a tournament at Paris, he crossed with a key figure in his career. Eric Olhats, Real Sociedad´s scout in France. The footballer caught his eye and decided to sign him for the Basque club.
While on trial with Montpellier in 2005, he played a friendly match against Paris Saint Germain. Because of his performance, he was successful in impressing many clubs and he was offered a one-week trial in San Sebastian.
He made his debut for Real Sociedad in 2009 in their pre-season campaign. In this season, he scored five goals in four appearances.
Griezmann made his competitive debut on 19 August 2014 for Atletico Madrid in the first leg of 2014 Supercopa de Espana. Also, he made his youth international debut for France Under-19 in a draw against Ukraine.
Griezmann scored twice and created another on his first official appearance for Barça against Betis. It was a debut to remember on a magical night at Camp Nou.
Griezmann Messi relationship
After Griezmann moved to Camp Nou, many believed that Messi often ignores him and refuses to pass to his well-positioned teammate.
The Frenchman has found it hard to adapt to life at Barca since his £120 million move from Atletico Madrid. He looked visibly frustrated by his lack of involvement in the play.
Griezmann admitted that the pair are not yet in sync on the pitch, "I'm still trying to read the runs and off the ball movement from the likes of Luis Suarez, Leo Messi and Ousmane Dembele along with the midfielders. It's my intention to get to grips with this as soon as possible so I can offer my all to the team but at times it's tricky.
"At present when I get the ball I have a certain lack of confidence in when to pass or when to shoot on goal, this I'm sure is something that will change with the passing of time," Griezmann said.
Griezmann admitted to finding it "difficult" to connect with Messi as neither of them are naturally big talkers.
"I'm pretty shy and sometimes have problems talking to others," Griezmann said. "It's rare that I strike up a conversation. Luis [Suarez], Leo and myself have had meals together and the relationship can only improve over time."
Some fans speculated that Messi preferred to have Neymar back instead of the French international.
However, Messi denied rumors that he ignores Griezmann. Both superstars claimed that their relationship has improved in the past few months despite initial reports of conflict.
Griezmann claimed that he is still in the process of learning the movements of his teammates despite being at the club for seven months, disclosing that he was happy at Barcelona and his family loved staying in the city.
Griezmann said about Messi, "He's the type of player that we're not going to see again for at least 40 years and it's a joy to watch him in action. It really is a privilege to play alongside him."
In 2017, Griezmann married his girlfriend Erika Choperena at a secret ceremony in Toledo at the 11th century Palacio de Galiana.
Griezmann and Choperena met while he was playing for Real Sociedad and she was studying in San Sebastian. They began dating soon after, and had their first child in April 2016, a daughter named Mia.
Griezmann admitted that he pursued Choperena before she eventually agreed to go out with him, "For a year and a half, I sent her messages, I tried to seduce her. We have been together since December 27, 2011."
When he joined Atletico Madrid in 2014, Erika moved with him. Just a month before their wedding in July 2017, Griezmann signed a new contract with Atletico Madrid, keeping him at the club until 2022.
Griezmann’s long sleeve jersey
It is believed that the French forward has decided against short sleeves on the pitch because of his admiration for David Beckham.
He spoke about watching his "idol" on television as a child, and how the former Manchester United midfielder made a big impact on his career.
Griezmann said, "I liked Beckham a lot. He was my idol. That’s why I wear a long-sleeved shirt and wear the No.7.
"He had a lot of class on and off the pitch. That is what I liked about him. No one had the right foot he had. I've never spoken to him but I would like to."
Griezmann’s another favorite player was the Brazilian striker, Sony Anderson. He has admitted in several occasions that he used to go to the Stade de Gerland wearing the striker’s shirt.
Griezmann struggling to join a French club
Griezmann did not find an easy way to play in a professional club. During his childhood he tested with several French clubs, which ruled out signing due to his physical characteristics.
Especially painful for the Atlético player was Olympique Lyon´s rejection, the team he supported. The club declined a move due to his small stature.
“At the time, they wanted players who were 2m tall, capable of winning matches straight away, without thinking about what the future might bring,” Griezmann told reporters.
Griezmann moved to Spain at the age of 14, even though his parents did not want him to leave his country. The reason for the youngster to move to Sociedad was simply because many French clubs rejected Antoine because of he was too short to join those clubs.
The striker was a fan of Lyon and often visited the Stade de Gerland to support the club, but even Lyon rejected the youngster and he had to move to continue his football development.
He even trained with the French team as a youngster, but was never offered a deal because he was considered too small.
"It was our biggest mistake in years, a historic mistake," Lyon's chief scout Gerard Bonneau told reporters.
Griezmann joined Spanish club Real Sociedad and went on to make over 200 appearances for the Basques before joining Atletico for 30 million euros in 2014.
A call from Diego Simeone
When Griezmann was linked with a move away from Real Sociedad, many top clubs tried to sign the French footballer. Atletico Madrid managed to bring him to the club but this was the result of a phone call from the manager, Diego Simeone.
When asked about his decision to stay in Spain, Griezmann had this to say about the move to France Football:
"Why Spain and not elsewhere? This is my championship, my home. I'm happy here and Atletico is a great club. The [champions] were willing to pay €30 million [£23.8m] for me,"
"I had the boss on the phone. He motivated me and said the club really wanted me. I knew that I was coming here to learn.
"Was it weird when PSG and Arsenal were also interested? [Atletico are] still the champions of Spain!
"I needed a club like that and a coach like Diego Simeone to progress. I always demands intensity in training. That's my style and I like it."
Griezmann’s weird underwear
One of the most peculiar sightings during his days at Real Sociedad was his choice of innerwear.
While it is wrong to judge people on the basis of their personal clothing, but certainly wearing Spongebob Squarepants underwear isn't something you would expect a grown man to do.
Griezmann though has been seen with the bright colored inner clothing in many other matches as well, though we are sure he did not want to be seen in them.
It is rumored that these 'shorts' are his lucky charm and he only wear them on matchdays. It certainly seems to work for the French forward, his performances for Sociedad caught the eye of many clubs and he finally signed with Atletico for a huge amount and later to the Camp Nou for £120 million.
In 2015, Griezmann became the French player with the highest total in a single Spanish Top-division campaign. He scored 22 goals in that season.
Griezmann was the only Atletico players and one of the three players in Team of the year at the LFP awards, along with Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. He finished at the third place in Ballon d’Or 2016 and also in the Best FIFA Men’s player 2016.
He was awarded the Best player award for La Liga 2016. Moreover, he was the French Player of the year in 2016 and he has many more awards to his name.
Griezmann scored 57 goals in two seasons at Atletico to be hailed as a worthy heir to star strikers such as a young Fernando Torres, Sergio Aguero, Radamel Falcao, and Diego Costa.
Atletico boss, Diego Simeone, believed only Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo and Barcelona's Lionel Messi can be considered better than Griezmann.
"He has worked very hard, pushed himself and knows how to listen," said Simeone.
"The best way to improve in any job is to listen. Without doubt he is one of the best three players in the world."
Griezmann's ability to adjust to Hispanic culture even stretches to South America as he enjoys a particularly close relationship with Atletico's array of Argentines and Uruguayans.
He is often seen supping on Mate, an herbal caffeine rich hot drink popular with South American players.
"I don't change my habits. I have a mate every morning with (Diego) Godin and (Jose) Gimenez," Griezmann said to reporters.
Griezmann's hairstyle might give the impression that he is extremely stylish and follows a party lifestyle, his tattoos also might give the same idea.
It is not something new for most players nowadays but the 29-year-old has a number of tattoos related to religion.
His upper arm has a portrait of Jesus while his right arm features a rosary with clouds and stars. The initials of his parents are also tattooed on him.
He is definitely not a person who inks his body without a reason, Griezmann is extremely religious and his tattoos are proof of that.
Griezmann, party boy
In 2012, the Real Sociedad midfielder and four others snuck out of the France Under–21 team’s hotel in Le Havre and took a late-night trip to a nightclub, and subsequently were suspended from representing the French national team at any level for more than a year.
The French star certainly has toned down his party lifestyle after an incident in October 2012. He and a few of his France U21 teammates left their team hotel in Le Havre to go to a nightclub.
The problem was that the nightclub was in Paris, a couple of hours away. He was subsequently banned for 14-months along with his team-mates, but was just lucky enough to get a call for the senior side before the World Cup.
Injuries were the reason for that call-up and had it not been for that, Griezmann would probably never had such a meteoric rise.
Griezmann should be thanking his stars but he now lets his football do the talking and is a mainstay for the Spanish club and the French squad.
Griezmann, videogame lover
We all read about Griezmann just about making it into the French World cup squad in 2014 and it seems the attacker was not too sure about his playing time for the national side.
In a few pictures, it was seen that Griezmann was carrying a gaming device, the Xbox One in its special travel case. The plan in all probability was to lead France to another World Cup win in FIFA or PES.
Griezmann has celebrated several of his key goals with a 'Take the L' dance from the popular video game Fortnite.
Griezmann holds his right arm in the air, shaping an 'L' with his hand and placing the hand on his forehead as he dances with both legs hopping off the ground.
Griezmann net worth
After his $135 million transfer from Atlético Madrid to Barcelona, Griezmann became the fifth-most expensive footballer of all-time. He is reported to have a net worth that totals $60 million.
He receives an annual salary of $27 million which makes him among the top 10 highest paid footballers. The Frenchman signed a five-year contract at the Camp Nou, including an astronomical release clause of $900 million!
His net worth is boosted by his endorsement deals with brands such as Head & Shoulders, Gillette, and Huawei. However, it is estimated that his most valuable deal is with Puma. He made $4.5 million off these deals in 2019.