Biography and family
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.
Since 2011, Griezmann has been in a relationship with Erika Choperena, a Spanish native of the Basque Country. They got married on 15 June 2017. They had their first child, a daughter named Mia, on 8 April 2016. The couple’s second child Amaro, named after Antoine’s grandfather Amaro Lopes, was born on 8 April 2019 (thus the siblings share their birthday). Griezmann is Roman Catholic.
Griezmann’s sister Maud was a survivor of the siege of the Bataclan theatre in the November 2015 Paris attacks, which took place as he was playing against Germany at the Stade de France, which was also site of an explosion in the same attacks. She is studying to become his image rights manager, while his younger brother, Théo, plays for Sporting Mâcon, an amateur French club, and in 2015 he created the sportswear brand GZ Brand.
On 17 December 2017, Griezmann caused controversy by sharing a photo of himself dressed as a Harlem Globetrotter on his social media accounts; the outfit included darkened skin and an afro wig. After severe criticism, Griezmann swiftly deleted the posts and apologized.
When he first arrived at Real Sociedad, Griezmann lodged with the club’s French scout while attending school across the border in Bayonne, training in the evenings at the club’s headquarters in San Sebastián. It took him time to break into Real Sociedad’s first team but after four years in the club’s youth system he made his debut, called up by Martín Lasarte for Real Sociedad’s 2009–10 pre-season campaign. In the pre-season, he scored five goals in four appearances and an injury to the team’s regular left-winger led to Lasarte selecting him for the start of the season (unusually for a youth graduate, bypassing the reserve team altogether).
On 2 September 2009, Griezmann made his competitive debut in the team’s Copa del Rey match against Rayo Vallecano appearing as a substitute in the 77th minute of a 2–0 defeat. Four days later, he made his league debut appearing as a substitute against Real Murcia. On 27 September, he made his first professional start and also scored his first professional goal against Huesca in a 2–0 win. Two weeks later, Griezmann scored his second goal of the campaign in a 2–0 win over Salamanca. In November 2009, he scored goals in back-to-back matches against Hércules and Recreativo de Huelva. The goal against the latter club was the only goal of the match. Griezmann appeared consistently in the team for the rest of the season scoring two more goals in wins over Cádiz and Numancia as Real Sociedad earned promotion to La Liga for the 2010–11 season as league winners.
On 8 April 2010, Griezmann signed his first professional contract agreeing to a five-year deal with the club until 2015 with a release clause of €30 million. Prior to signing the contract, he drew considerable interest from Ligue 1 clubs Lyon, Saint-Étienne and Auxerre. However, having already received considerable first-team playing time with Real, he signed with the Spanish club. Griezmann also drew interest from Premier League clubs Manchester United and Arsenal before signing his contract. Griezmann made his debut in the Spanish first division on 29 August 2010, in the season’s first match. In a post-game interview, he described the occasion as “fulfilling his childhood dream”. In the team’s first match after the September international break, Griezmann assisted on the equalising goal scored by Raúl Tamudo against Real Madrid. Madrid later won the match 2–1 following a goal from Cristiano Ronaldo. On 25 October, Griezmann scored his first goal in the league in a 3–0 victory over Deportivo de La Coruña. He celebrated the goal by pretending to drive a truck that was parked near the field. A week later, Griezmann scored the opening goal in a 2–1 win over Málaga. In November 2010, Griezmann scored the only goal in the team’s 2–1 loss to Hércules. In the team’s second match of the new year, he netted the second goal in the team’s 4–0 victory over Getafe. After going scoreless in the next nine matches, Griezmann returned to his scoring form in March netting the only goal for Txuri-urdin in the team’s 2–1 defeat to Racing Santander.
After sitting out the first league match of the 2011–12 campaign, in Griezmann’s first competitive match of the season against the defending champions Barcelona two weeks later, he scored the equalising goal in a 2–2 draw.
In the final league game of the 2012–13 campaign, he scored the only goal of the game against Deportivo de La Coruña, securing qualification for the UEFA Champions League for the first time since 2003–04 while also relegating Deportivo.
At the start of the following season, Griezmann scored a volley against Lyon in his home nation of France which helped Real Sociedad qualify for the Champions League group stage (4–0 on aggregate). Another important goal was also a volley, this time against Athletic Bilbao in a Basque derby league match at Anoeta Stadium in January 2014 which ended in a 2–0 victory for Real.
On 28 July 2014, Atlético Madrid reached an agreement with Real Sociedad for the transfer of Griezmann, for a fee believed to be close to his €30 million (£24 million) buy-out clause. He passed the medical examination the same day and signed a six-year contract on 29 July. Griezmann made his competitive debut in the first leg of the 2014 Supercopa de España on 19 August, a 1–1 draw away to Real Madrid, replacing Saúl after 57 minutes. On 17 September, he scored his first goal for the club, in a Champions League group stage match against Olympiacos, in a game which Atlético eventually lost 3–2. Griezmann netted a brace in a 4–2 win over Córdoba on 1 November, his first league goals for the club. On 21 December 2014, he scored his first La Liga hat-trick as Atlético won 4–1 at Athletic Bilbao, having trailed at half-time. He was the La Liga Player of the Month for January 2015 despite appearing in only three of Atlético’s five matches. On 25 April 2015, Griezmann scored a brace against Elche in a 3–0 home win, bringing him to a total of 22 goals in the league season, overtaking Karim Benzema for the highest total by a French player in a single Spanish top-division campaign. He finished the season with 22 goals in 37 games, and was selected as the only Atlético player and one of three forwards in the Team of the Year at the LFP Awards, alongside Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
On 22 August 2015, Griezmann scored the only goal as Atlético began the season with a home victory over promoted Las Palmas. He scored both of the goals on 15 September, as they won at Galatasaray in the Champions League group stage. A week later, he repeated the feat to defeat local neighbours Getafe and put Atlético on top of the league. On 18 October, in his return to Real Sociedad, Griezmann chipped goalkeeper Gerónimo Rulli in the ninth minute of a 2–0 win (he did not celebrate the goal). On 27 February 2016, Griezmann scored the only goal as Atlético won away to Real Madrid. On 13 April, he scored both goals in a 2–0 quarter-final second leg win at the Vicente Calderón Stadium that knocked holders Barcelona out of the Champions League. On 3 May, he scored the decisive away goal against Bayern Munich in the semi-final second leg at the Allianz Arena to send Atlético to the final. Griezmann hit the crossbar with a penalty two minutes into the second half with his team trailing 1–0 against Real Madrid in the Champions League final at Milan’s San Siro on 28 May. He scored in the penalty shootout after the match had ended 1–1 after extra time, but Atlético ultimately lost 5–3.
On 23 June 2016, Griezmann signed a new contract with Atlético, which would keep him at the club until 2021. On 1 November 2016, Griezmann scored both of Atlético’s goals (with his second in the 93rd minute) in their 2–1 home win against Rostov in a 2016–17 Champions League Group D match (in which he was voted the Player of the Match) to enable Atlético to progress to the round of 16 with two matches to spare. On 22 April 2017, he scored the only goal of a win at RCD Espanyol, thus becoming the second Frenchman after Karim Benzema to score 100 La Liga goals (in 247 games). After another trophyless season, and amid speculation that he could leave Atlético for Manchester United after the conclusion of the 2016–17 season, he extended his contract at the club by one year in June 2017, after learning that Atletico were given a transfer ban and that they could not sign a replacement. His reported release clause was also raised to €100 million (£87 million).
On 19 August 2017, Griezmann earned his first red card during a draw against Girona and received a two-match ban. He was initially booked for diving in the penalty box, then his reaction of using foul language toward the referee earned him a second booking. He was named La Liga Player of the Month for February 2018 after registering eight goals and two assists during the period, including scoring seven in four days (a hat-trick against Sevilla and four against Leganés). His second in the 4–0 win against the latter was his 100th goal for Atlético, becoming only the third player of the 21st century to do so after Sergio Agüero and Fernando Torres. He scored in the first leg of the 2017–18 UEFA Europa League semi-final away to Arsenal and assisted Diego Costa for the only goal in the return, contributing to Atléti’s 2–1 aggregate victory and progression to the final, held in Lyon and against French opposition in Marseille; he then scored twice in the final as his club claimed the trophy for the third time in nine years. After months of speculation linking him with a €100 million (£88 million) move to Barcelona, on 19 June 2018 Griezmann signed a contract extension at Atletico Madrid until 2023, days after rejecting a move to the Camp Nou. He wrote a message to Atlético on social media, “My fans, my team, MY HOME!!!” in Spanish, French and English along with a video in which he is seen walking around Madrid.
On 15 August, Griezmann started in Atlético’s 4–2 extra-time win over Real Madrid in the 2018 UEFA Super Cup in Tallinn. On Matchday 2 of the Champions League, Griezmann scored a goal in either half to give his team a 3–1 home win over Belgian champions Club Brugge. Later on Matchday 4 he scored Atletico’s second goal against German side Borussia Dortmund as Atletico Madrid won the reverse fixture at home by a 2–0 margin following a 4–0 defeat against the same opponents earlier in the competition at the Westfalenstadion. In the following game he again scored the second goal in a 2–0 win against French side Monaco, to ensure his team’s qualification for the next round of the Champions League. On 15 December, Griezmann played his 300th league contest in the Spanish top division, a game in which he scored twice while setting up another, as Atlético Madrid won 3–2 away to Real Valladolid. In the following week, he scored his 200th career goal, from the spot in a 1–0 win over Espanyol. On 26 January, in a league fixture at home against Getafe, he scored his 10th league goal of the season in a 2–0 win as Atlético closed the gap between league leaders Barcelona to just 2 points. On 10 February, he scored in a 3–1 derby defeat against Real Madrid, equalling Fernando Torres’s record-which he later broke in the following week by scoring the only goal in a 1–0 win against Rayo Vallecano, to become the fifth highest goalscorer in Atlético history with 130 goals. On 14 May 2019, Griezmann announced that he would be leaving Atlético Madrid after five seasons, after being heavily linked to Barcelona, who reportedly intended to pay the €120 million buy-out clause set by the club.
Due to playing in Spain, Griezmann went unnoticed by several France youth international coaches. After his success with Real Sociedad, on 23 February 2010, he was named to the France under-19 team to play in two friendly matches against Ukraine. On 2 March, Griezmann made his youth international debut appearing in the team’s 0–0 draw with Ukraine. In the return leg two days later, he scored the game-winning goal in the 88th minute to give France a 2–1 victory. On 7 June 2010, Griezmann was named to coach Francis Smerecki’s 18-man squad to participate in the 2010 UEFA European Under-19 Championship. In the tournament, he scored two goals and provided an assist in the team’s second group stage match against Austria, a 5–0 win, as the national team eventually won the competition on home soil. He was named in the Team of the Tournament. Due to France’s victory at the UEFA Under-19 championship, the nation qualified for the 2011 FIFA U-20 World Cup, which merited under-20 team appearances for Griezmann. On 28 September 2010, he was called up to the team to participate in friendly matches against Portugal and the reserve team of Italian club Juventus. Griezmann, however, did not appear in either match due to being sent home early after suffering a thigh injury during a training session. The following month, despite still being eligible to appear at under-20 level, he was called up to the under-21 team by coach Erick Mombaerts as a replacement for the injured Gabriel Obertan to play in a friendly match against Russia. Griezmann made his under-21 debut in the match appearing as a second-half substitute in a 1–0 defeat. After appearing in two matches with the under-21 team, Griezmann returned to under-20 level and made his debut with the team on 9 February 2011 in a 2–1 victory over England at the New Meadow, assisting Clément Grenier’s equaliser. On 10 June 2011, he was named to the 21-man squad to participate in the U-20 World Cup. He made his debut in the competition on 30 July 2011 in the team’s 4–1 defeat to the hosts Colombia. On 10 August, in France’s Round of 16 match against Ecuador, Griezmann scored the game-winning goal in a 1–0 victory. In November 2012, Griezmann was suspended, along with four other youth players, from France’s national teams until 31 December 2013 for disciplinary reasons regarding a late night out before training. During this time, he considered switching allegiance to his ancestral Portugal.
On 27 February 2014, Griezmann received a call-up to France’s senior squad by coach Didier Deschamps to play in a friendly against the Netherlands at the Stade de France. He earned his first cap on 5 March, appearing as a starter in the 2–0 home win and playing the first 68 minutes.
2014 World Cup
On 13 May, he was named in Deschamps’ squad for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. On 1 June, playing against Paraguay in Nice, he scored his first international goal for France, opening a 1–1 draw. He added two more as a late substitute for Olivier Giroud in France’s final warm-up match, against Jamaica on 8 June, the final two in an 8–0 win. On 15 June, he was selected to start in France’s first match of the World Cup, replacing the injured Franck Ribéry on the left side of Les Bleus’ attack as they defeated Honduras 3–0 in Porto Alegre. In the last 16 against Nigeria, his pressure led to Joseph Yobo scoring a late own goal for a 2–0 French victory. France were eliminated in the quarter-finals by eventual champions Germany.
Griezmann was chosen for France as they hosted UEFA Euro 2016, and started the opening game, a 2–1 win over Romania. For their performances, he and Paul Pogba were benched for the next game against Albania at the Stade Vélodrome; Griezmann came on in place of Giroud in the second half and headed Adil Rami’s cross with the first shot on target in the last minute to open a 2–0 win. In the last 16 against the Republic of Ireland in Lyon, he scored twice as the French recovered from a half-time deficit to win 2–1, and was also fouled by Shane Duffy who was given a straight red card. On 3 July, Griezmann assisted Pogba and Dimitri Payet before scoring himself in a 5–2 quarter-final win over Iceland; it was his first goal at the Stade de France. In the semi-finals against Germany four days later, he scored twice in a 2–0 victory to lead France to their third European Championship final. Following a 1–0 defeat to Portugal in the final on 10 July, Griezmann won the Golden Boot as the tournament’s top scorer, with six goals and two assists in seven games, and was named the tournament’s best player, also being named to the team of the tournament. His tally of six goals at the tournament was second only to the nine goals by compatriot Michel Platini at UEFA Euro 1984.
2018 World Cup
On 17 May 2018, Griezmann was called up to the France squad for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. On 16 June 2018, he suffered a foul in the box and scored the resulting penalty kick to open the score in France’s 2–1 over Australia in their opening match at the tournament, which was the first penalty decision ever to be awarded in a World Cup match with the assistance of the video assistant referee system. On 30 June, Griezmann scored a goal from the penalty kick given for a foul on Kylian Mbappé in a 4–3 victory over Argentina in their round of 16 match. In France’s 2–0 victory over Uruguay in quarter-finals of the tournament on 6 July, Griezmann first assisted Raphaël Varane’s goal from a corner and later scored a goal himself with a strike from outside the area following an error by Uruguayan goalkeeper Fernando Muslera. Griezmann did not celebrate his goal against Uruguay out of respect for his Uruguayan mentor and Uruguayan club teammates. In the semi-final against Belgium at the Krestovsky Stadium, Saint Petersburg on 10 July, he set up the only goal of the game from a corner, which was headed in by Samuel Umtiti. On 15 July, Griezmann was involved in several goals in the final against Croatia, which France won 4–2. With the score at 0–0 in the first half, France was awarded a foul on Griezmann after a challenge from Marcelo Brozović. Commentators called that Griezmann had dived as he began falling before Brozović made contact. Griezmann took the ensuing 30-yard (27 m) free kick, which was headed by Mario Mandžukić into his own net to give France the lead in the 18th minute. Croatia equalized, but Griezmann scored a 38th minute penalty after the referee ruled for handball (via a video assistant review) to give France a 2–1 lead. In the second half, he passed to Paul Pogba in the build-up to the midfielder scoring the third goal for France. For his efforts, Griezmann was named man of the match, and was also voted the third best player in the tournament behind Luka Modrić and Eden Hazard, receiving the Bronze Ball.
2018–19 UEFA Nations League
On Matchday 3 of the UEFA Nations League, Griezmann scored a second half brace as the world champions came from behind to beat Germany 2–1 in Paris.
Awards and achievements
Interviews, opinions and scandals
Atletico and France team player Antoine Griezmann came to the party in the style of the 80s in the form of the basketball team Harlem Globetrotters and repainted the skin in a dark color.
However, the football player did not have fun. A flurry of criticism for such a racist outfit hit him.
“Friends, take it easy. I am a fan of Harlem Globrotters and their wonderful era. This is a homage, ”answered all critics of Griezmann.
However, after this attack did not stop. The Frenchman had to remove both posts and apologize for such an outfit.
“I apologize if I hurt someone,” wrote Antoine.
December 18, 2017