Antoine "Grizou" Griezmann

by Matthew Vernot | | 0 comments

 
From the boy who was rejected because of his size, to leading France and Atletico Madrid to glory. Perhaps all of the scouts who doubted him gave him something extra to prove.
 
The boy from Macon was deemed too small by scouts in France. Turned down by Lyon, Auxerre, Saint-Etienne and Sochaux. He was seen by chance when Real Sociedad scout, Eric Olhats stopped by on his way back from a visit with friends. Shocked that the French club were not interested in Griezmann, he immediately recruited him for the academy, citing his technique as the reason he took a chance. 
 
A young Griezmann in training
 
Olhats allowed Griezmann to move in with him. This arrangement allowed Antoine to continue his education in his native language, and travel across the border to train with Real Sociedad. The arrangement was only supposed to last six months, but six years later, he was still living with Olhats. Griezmann also learned Spanish, increasing his chances of success with the basque region club. 
 
In Spain, Antoine was no longer rejected because of his size. He excelled because of the emphasis on the technical side of the game. No longer having to barge into defenders to impress scouts, he simply went around them, scoring goals at each youth level. 
 
Antoine Griezmann celebrates a goal for Real Sociedad
 
Making his debut at 18 years old in 2009, he had fully adopted life in San Sebastian. Thanks to his upbringing in Spain, his deft touch and technique allowed him to excel. Debuting as a left winger, he also played right wing at times making 39 appearances and scoring six goals. Still a raw talent when Sociedad were promoted to La Liga, his agility, energy, and direct trickiness allowed him to continue his development.
 
Martin Lasarte, the Real Sociedad coach who gave Antoine his chance at first team football stated he knew Antoine had what it took to become a top player. 
 
“The feeling was very similar to what I felt with Suarez.  
They share something in how clearly they see things, 
how sure they are of where they’re heading and what they want. 
Luis wanted to get to Barcelona, Antoine to play for France.  
He was serious, focused, technically talented.  
He was also fun, mischievous, winding people up:
he looks like an angel with those blue eyes but he’s the devil.”
 
Compared to the one and only Zizou by his fellow compatriot in the ’98 World Cup triumph; Lizarzu cites their culture and feel for the pass as striking similarities in their games. Defenders were always trying to pick Zizou up, while Griezmann’s relentless movement leaves defenders spinning. Atletico’s counter-attacking play leads to midfielders and defenders only taking one look before they spot a darting run from Antoine.
 
Griezmann with a Zidane-esque control during a match
 
Scoring 52 goals in 201 games for the Txuriurdin, Atletico Madrid came calling in the summer of 2014. Diego Simeone has gone on to develop Greizmann into one of the world’s best attackers. His scoring record improved dramatically. He finished with 25 goals in his first season with Atletico. He has continued his world class form where he scored 32 goals in the 15/16 campaign. 
 
Griezmann’s rise to STARBOY takes a different path from those who have been featured. His struggle was finding a club who believed in him. After rejection from a host of French clubs, he could have given up. However, he kept training to get better each day. When he finally got his chance with Sociedad, the rest they say is history. Griezmann still has many years ahead of him and he will only continue to increase his STARBOY status. There is an aura that can no longer be ignored. 
 
Antoine Griezmann celebrates a goal while playing for Real Sociedad
 
Beginning when he was the “academy boy”, he successfully came through Sociedad’s ranks. Fans quickly adore a player who was brought through their system, especially an attacker. His touch and technique are uniquely Spanish, also adding to the affinity that Sociedad fans quickly built with Antoine. 
 
His signature goal celebration, the “hotline bling” from Drake’s music video took over social media this past year. It garnered more coverage at this past summer’s European Championships where Griezmann was the top goal scorer with 6.
 
Griezmann with his signature Hotline Bling celebration
 
Griezmann states that he would like to be the best football player in the world in two years’ time. It is hard to argue as he has consistently been one of, if not the best player in La Liga the past five years. He has not allowed the success and failure to affect him.
 
Having played in two finals and yet to be victorious, he has not publicly complained about the performances of himself or teammates. Only stating that he will continue to work hard and that the losses motivate him each day in training. 
 
Griezmann was nominated for "UEFA's Best Player in Europe award alongside Ronaldo and Bale. For the ceremony Griezmann made sure that all the attention was on him when he showed up with no tie, socks, trousers, and some truly interesting trainers.
 
Truly interesting fashion choices for Griezmann at the Award Ceremony
 
Antoine is a true family man,  part of a dying breed. Posting many pictures with his girlfriend on social media, he also exclaims his love for family time. He often visits them back home in Macon, France when he has time off from football.
 
Antoine enjoys some family time
 
He exudes elegance off the pitch. Always dressed for the occasion, Antoine has a personal style that is truly unique. From long fishtail t-shirts, suit and ties, to bleached hair styles he is only Antoine Griezmann. He does things effortlessly his own way which is a part of the aura that surrounds him. He has been featured in countless style magazines such as: GQ, L’Equpie, Le Perisien, and Surface.
  
Antoine Griezmann suits up for a GQ cover shoot
Antoine Griezmann in a Louis Vuitton button up shirt
Antoine Griezmann photoshoot for L'Equipe
 
Antoine’s sister has a background in public relations, and is now working for Antoine as his publicity strategist. It is important to have someone who understands the person intricately when focusing on your personal brand. She works to find the right endorsement deals for Antoine and has landed a big partner in Gillette since she has been aboard.
 
The smooth image of a father and loving partner only elevate his STARBOY status. He is the quintessential modern footballer that everyone wishes they could be. His world class goal scoring ability, elegance, and class epitomize what it means to be a STARBOY.
 
Griezmann with his signature "hotline bling" celebration during EURO 2016