Who is Antoine Griezmann?
Antoine Griezmann is a French professional footballer who plays for the French national team as well as for the Spanish club ‘Atletico Madrid.’ Born and brought up in Macon, France, he was an aspiring footballer since early years. However, his genetics didn’t allow him to grow much in height and frame and hence, he was rejected by many leading clubs’ youth programmes. The year 2005, however, arrived as year of hope, as he was noticed by several major clubs, including the French professional club ‘Real Sociedad,’ while playing for the local club ‘Montpellier.’ In the 2009-2010 season, he made his debut for ‘Sociedad.’ During their pre-season campaign, Antoine proved his mettle and scored five goals in four games that he played in. Following four successful seasons at ‘Sociedad,’ Antoine finally made his move to Atletico Madrid in July 2014. His steadily good performance helped him bag another contract with Madrid in 2016, which had him staying with the team until 2021. For his national senior team, Antoine played in the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the Euro 2016. At the latter, he got the ‘Golden Boot’ award for being the leading goal scorer in the tournament.
Childhood & Early Life
Antoine Griezmann was born in Macon, France, on March 21, 1991 to Isabelle and Alain. His father was a rich and politically powerful man who had a strong hold in the political landscape of France. His mother worked as a hospital cleaner.
Antoine’s ancestry leads back to Portugal, where his grandfather Amaro Lopes was a famed footballer for the national team back in his days. This history of football in the family urged little Antoine to give himself a shot in the game. Furthermore Zinedine Zidane inspired him to practice and train hard to achieve his goals of being a footballer.
Lyon was the nearby well reputed football club and their youth programmes were known to be impeccable. Antoine tried enrolling in there, but his short height and low body weight had him getting rejected. Disheartened by this, Antoine moved over to the second best option, his local club UF Macon. His father’s strong political influence also played a great role in him getting selected. At UF Macon, Antoine further started working on his skills in order to get attention of the best youth programmes in the country.
Again, his short frame became a big hurdle in him getting selected for the further youth academies. But Antoine wasn’t one to give up and he went for a trial for Montpellier in 2005, where he exhibited his skills as a footballer for the first time. The friendly match that took place in Paris against Paris Saint-Germain got the attention of executives from Real Sociedad who got inspired by Antoine’s performance.
Sociedad offered a trial week for Antoine and that one week extended further with Sociedad ending up offering a contract to Antoine’s parents to keep him in their youth academy. Antoine’s parents were initially sceptical about sending their son off to Spain, but they eventually agreed.
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During his initial time at Sociedad, he attended school in the daytime and practised football in the evenings and the weekends. For the following four years, which was a very long time by the club’s standards, Antoine remained at their youth programme and was only able to make his competitive debut in the 2009-10 season.
He was selected for the pre-season games and his five goals scored in four games made him a strong contender for the league season. An injury to the regular left winger of the team finally had him on-board with the team in the regular line-up.
In September 2009, he made his professional debut against Huesca and scored his first goal in his debut match, leading his team to a 2-0 win. He scored his second goal two weeks later against Salamanca and further scored many goals to make his team qualify for the La Liga. In April 2010, Real Sociedad got compelled to finally sign an official contract with Antoine and had him in the team until 2015.
Before signing the contract with Real Sociedad, he also received recognition from many bigger clubs, such as Manchester United and Arsenal, but he decided to sign in with Sociedad. In the 2011-12 season, he scored a goal against the defending champion Barcelona to bring the match to a 2-2 draw. His amazing performance in the final league game of the season 2012-13 had his team qualifying for the UEFA Championship League for the first time in almost a decade.
In July 2014, Atletico Madrid approached Real Sociedad regarding the possession of Antoine and later that month, Antoine officially joined Madrid under a six years contract. In August 2014, Antoine scored his first goal for Madrid against Olympiacos, in a group stage match of Champions League.
In a December 2014 match against Athletic Bilbao, he scored the first hat-trick of his career in La Liga. Despite the fact that he appeared only in three matches for Madrid out of the five games that they played in La Liga, Antoine was named La Liga Player of the Month for January 2015.
By the end of the 2014-15, Antoine’s goal tally had reached 22 goals and hence, he was the only Atletico Madrid player in Team of the Year at the LFP Awards. He shared the place in the team as the third forward alongside Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
In May 2015, he led his team to the finals of the Champions League, where his team eventually lost. His contract with Atletico Madrid was further extended until 2021 in July 2016. In a 2016-2017 Champions League group match against Rostov, Antoine scored two goals and was later named Player of the Match.
In June 2017, the speculations were hot regarding his departure from Atletico Madrid following the increasing interest of the English Premier League teams in him. But he brought an end to the rumours by signing one more contract with Atletico to stay in the team until 2022.
Due to his departure to Spain during early years, he was never considered for national youth teams. He was eventually selected in the national team for the 2010 UEFA European Under-19 Football Championship, where he led his team to a victory. He was suspended in November 2012 following disciplinary measures. Following this, he strongly considered joining Portugal national team.
He made his senior appearance for France in the 2014 FIFA World Cup and performed fairly well. His team lost in the quarter finals to Germany, which eventually went on to win the World Cup. His performance reached its peak in the 2016 UEFA Euro, where he led his team to the final where they lost to Portugal.
Despite his team’s ouster from the tournament, Antoine’s performance didn’t go unnoticed and he was announced as the winner of the Golden Boot and was given a place in the Team of the Tournament.
Antoine Griezmann has dated Erika Choperena for a very long time before he got married to her in June 2017. The marriage ceremony took place in secret in the presence of close friends and family members. Before marriage, the couple has given birth to a daughter named Mia.
Antoine is very fond of his younger brother, Theo, who is also on his way to become a footballer.