13 fun facts about Antoine Griezmann

Everything you need to know about French superstar Antoine Griezmann!

Antoine Griezmann is a French professional footballer who plays as an attacking midfielder for La Liga club Atletico Madrid and the France national team.

Born on March 21, 1991, in Mâcon, France, Griezmann is widely regarded as one of the best attackers in the world. He has dazzled football fans over the years thanks to his instinctive finishing, playmaking ability, range of passing, work-rate, and creativity on the pitch.

He began his football journey at a young age, joining the youth academy of his local club, UF Mâcon. His potential caught the attention of scouts, and at the age of 13, he moved to Spain to join the renowned youth academy of Real Sociedad. It was here that Griezmann honed his skills and developed his unique playing style.

Griezmann worked his way up the ranks and made his La Liga debut in the 2009/10 season. He quickly established himself as a key player, showcasing his technical abilities, vision, and goal-scoring instincts. His breakthrough season came in the 2013-2014 campaign when he scored 16 league goals and helped Sociedad secure a Champions League qualification spot.

His performances drew attention from top clubs, and in 2014, he joined Atletico Madrid for a reported fee of €30 million after a famous phone call from head coach Diego Simeone. Griezmann flourished and became a central figure in Atletico's success.

During his first stint at Atletico, Griezmann won several trophies, including the UEFA Europa League and the UEFA Super Cup. His most notable achievement came in the 2015-2016 season when he helped Atletico reach the UEFA Champions League final, scoring a crucial goal against Real Madrid. Although Atletico fell short in the final, Griezmann's performances earned him the tournament's Golden Boot as the top scorer.

In 2019, he made a high-profile move to Barcelona, joining the Catalan giants in a €120 million deal. However, he failed to live up to expectations, scoring just 22 goals in 74 La Liga games for the Catalan club.

After three turbulent years at Camp Nou, he returned to Wanda Metropolitano on loan last season, which was made permanent by Atleti at the start of the current season as he has rediscovered his confidence and peak form back under Simeone.

As for his exploits on the international stage, he made his debut for the French national team in 2014 and has since become an integral part of the squad. He played a crucial role in France's journey to the final of the 2016 UEFA European Championship, where they narrowly lost to Portugal. In the tournament, he won the Golden Boot as the top scorer and was also named the Player of the Tournament.

However, the pinnacle of Griezmann's international career came in 2018 when he played a vital role in France's FIFA World Cup triumph. Griezmann's performances earned him the Silver Ball as the tournament's second-best player and also shone as arguably the best French player after Kylian Mbappe at the recent 2022 World Cup in Qatar, where he helped them reach the final.

Here are 13 fun facts about Griezmann you need to know!

  1. Nicknamed as 'The Little Prince' 🤴

    Griezmann is nicknamed "The Little Prince" because of his diminutive stature, exceptional playmaking skills, and intelligent footballing brain. He stands at a modest height of 5 ft 9in, which is relatively short for a professional footballer. However, Griezmann's small size does not stop him from being one of the best players in the world.

    The nickname is also a reference to the famous French novel of the same name by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. The novel narrates the story of a young prince who travels to different planets in search of knowledge and wisdom. Griezmann has said that he likes the character of the Little Prince, and he sees himself as a kind of "little prince" on the pitch. Thus, the moniker is a fitting one.

  2. Difficult start in French Football

    Griezmann struggled to get his first opportunity in the world of football, as scouts in France considered him too small and skinny to make it through to the professional game. Lyon, Saint-Étienne, Metz, Auxerre, Sochaux and Montpellier all scouted him, but none were willing to take him in.

    Thankfully, Real Sociedad’s French scout Eric Olhats saw the youngster and his supreme technical skills that he was offered a chance to join an elite academy.

    The teenager had to move to continue his football development and even stayed with Olhats during his initial years at the Basque club's academy after making the move to northern Spain.

    Had things gone differently, he could have been playing for PSG or Lyon but well, Ligue 1's loss was La Liga's gain as he has gone on to represent several Spanish giants throughout his career so far.

  3. Pavel Nedved, one of his favourite players
    Getty Images

    Pavel Nedved, one of his favourite players

    Griezmann, like all young football fans, had many idols growing up, but none more so than Pavel Nedvd, whose poster he had on his wall. As a youngster, he even used to copy the Czech maestro’s hairstyle. Among his other childhood heroes were Real Madrid legend Zinedine Zidane, Sonny Anderson – with whom he was famously photographed as a kid – and David Beckham.

  4. Lyon is his boyhood club ❤️

    Lyon is his boyhood club ❤️

    Lyon is a city that holds special memories for the current Atletico Madrid star, who grew up in the town of Macon, near Lyon. He was an Olympique Lyonnais supporter as a kid and often visited the Stade de Gerland to support the club. However, Lyon rejected to enroll the youngster into their academy due to his height. Needless to say, it was a painful experience for the boyhood OL fan.

    Ironically, one of his first big breakout moments came against his boyhood club French side when OL locked horns with Real Sociedad in a Champions League qualifier in 2013. Griezmann scored a spectacular bicycle kick in the away leg as Real Sociedad won the tie 4-0.

    He would also score a wonderful brace for France in Lyon during Euro 2016 and won the 2017/18 Europa League final in the city with Atletico Madrid, scoring twice in a 3-0 victory over OL's rivals Marseille.

  5. Dreamed of becoming a goalkeeper as a kid 🧤

    Whatever level of football you play, being a goalkeeper can be a really unpleasant job.

    Even on the streets, it has always been the position that nobody wants to play. You pick sides one player at a time. You gradually eliminate the best players until your team is left with the weakest, least skilled member of the group. So, what are you going to do with them? It's obvious. You stick them in between the sticks in a futile attempt to keep them safe.

    However, the same was not the case with Griezmann, who not only wants to find the back of the net, but also to prevent them. When he was young, he liked goalkeeping gloves and stopping the ball with his hands. When finishing training sessions with his former team, he used to practice the same.

    In an interview with El Chiringuito TV, he revealed: "I wanted to be a goalkeeper. In the summer camps, I always played goalkeeper and my father got angry because he wanted to see me as an [outfield] player."

  6. Griezmann’s long sleeve jersey

    Griezmann’s long sleeve jersey

    The French superstar has opted against short sleeves on the pitch throughout most of his playing career due to his admiration for England and Manchester United icon 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.

    In an interview, 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 [for France].

    "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."

    Needless to say, Beckham was known for having a preference to wear long-sleeved collar-up shirts when he used to play for Manchester United, Real Madrid, AC Milan, LA Galaxy, and Paris Saint-Germain.

  7. Banned for partying 🎉

    The French star certainly has put breaks on his party lifestyle after an incident in October 2012. He along with a handful of his France Under-21 teammates went to a nightclub after sneaking out of their team hotel in Le Havre.

    The problem was this nightclub was in Paris, a couple of hours away. He was subsequently served with a 14-month-long ban from representing France at any level, but he was just fortunate enough to get a call for the senior side before the World Cup.

    An injury crisis was the reason for that call-up and had it not been for that Griezmann would probably never had such a rapid rise and success with Les Bleus.

  8. A taste for basketball 🏀

    Griezmann is a die-hard NBA fan. He has attended plenty of NBA games in the past, and his favourite player is Derrick Rose. In 2017 when rumours of his Atletico departure were swirling around, he even joked he would only consider a move to join Rose at the New York Knicks in the NBA.

    His house in Madrid has a basketball court constructed there for him to practice his side-hustle sport. In an interview with ESPN FC, the France international and World Cup winner reaffirmed his passion for pro basketball, his obsession with collecting NBA jerseys, and his wish to visit all NBA arenas.

    When asked what attracts him to basketball, Griezmann said: "I think the showmanship aspect of it. The show they put on during the breaks, at half-time, before [the games], the way they present the players ... their trash talking."

    "It's a sport that makes me forget about my own business, which is football. I would like to visit all NBA arenas, no matter if I have to go to Memphis or Utah. I would love to visit them all."

  9. Avid gamer and FM nerd 🎮

    Avid gamer and FM nerd 🎮

    Video games are a popular way for professional footballers to relax and de-stress after a long day of training. Many players, including Neymar, Paul Pogba, and Karim Benzema, are known to be avid gamers, however, Griezmann's love for video games is of another level.

    The 32-year-old has been playing video games since he was a child. He started with Nintendo games like Super Mario Bros. and The Legend of Zelda. As he got older, he started playing more complex games like Call of Duty and Fortnite. He is a big fan of the game Fortnite and has even competed in the Fortnite World Cup. He carries the gaming device with him on team travels as well.

    He is a keen Football Manager player, and regularly shares his achievements with his fans on social media, although the Atletico superstar hasn't signed himself this year. In one of the previously shared saves, he guided Newcastle United to an unprecedented quintuple (in 2027), winning the Premier League, Champions League, FA Cup, Super Cup and Community Shield.

  10. Could have played for Portugal?

    While Griezmann is a mainstay for the French squad these days, he could very well have been playing for Portugal or Spain had he chosen to represent the Selecao at international level. Griezmann was born in France, but he has Portuguese roots. His mother Isabelle Lopes is Portuguese and was, as a result, eligible for a Portugal call-up.

  11. Mate lover 🧉

    A multi-language speaker, Griezmann's ability to adjust to Hispanic culture extends all the way to South America as he enjoys a particularly close relationship with Atletico's Argentine and Uruguayan players. He likes Uruguayan culture and loves Mate - a herby caffeine-rich hot drink popular with South American players. The man who introduced him to it was Carlos Bueno at Real Sociedad. He is often seen arriving at the matches with one cup in his hand, supping on.

  12. Knack for producing coldest goal celebrations 🥶 🔥

    Scoring goals is perhaps the most enjoyable aspect of any football game, whether it is played on a playground or in a professional game. Finding the back of the net can be an exhilarating feeling for a player, and they often express themselves by performing a celebration.

    Atletico star Griezmann is known to have quite a few celebrations in his locker, which are unique, and cold. While the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and others have one signature celebration, Griezmann likes to experiment, which makes him the master of celebrations.

    The Frenchman has tried his luck with many styles during his time with Atletico Madrid and France, including hotline bling in tribute to famous singer Drake, salsa, playing guitar, fortnight, Dragon Ball Z's Kamehameha, yoga, take the L(loser), and glitter, among others.

  13. The 30-minute rule 🕒
    Getty Images

    The 30-minute rule 🕒

    Griezmann moved back on loan to Atletico, from Barcelona, at the beginning of last season but a bizarre clause in the deal meant that Diego Simeone was under strict instructions not to start him.

    Actually, Atletico only agreed to take Griezmann on loan from Barcelona at Simeone’s insistence, since El Cholo and Griezmann share mutual admiration. Barcelona, who are still in a financially stricken situation, only agreed to loan Griezmann under the condition that Atlético doesn't play him for more than thirty minutes in 80 percent of the games for which he is available.

    Playing too often would have meant Atleti needing to splash big money on him to make his move back to the Wanda Metropolitano permanent, with a €40m obligation to buy inserted into the deal. The club from the Spanish capital couldn't afford that price so he kept coming on in the 60th minute until a new agreement was reached with Barca.

    This led to some public spats between the two clubs until it was claimed that a permanent deal worth €20m plus add-ons had been reached, while Griezmann took a hefty wage cut to make the move happen.

    That proved to be a fantastic deal for the Rojiblancos, as the former Barcelona flop has been in scintillating form for club and country, and dare we say, he's been La Liga's best player this season.