Antoine Griezmann profile: The Atletico Madrid star's rise to Man Utd transfer target

Comments
The Frenchman came through the ranks in Spain at Real Sociedad before earning a move to the Vicente Calderon, where he has made his name globally

Antoine Griezmann is the most in-demand player in world football and could challenge his compatriot and friend Paul Pogba for the world transfer record this summer.

'No need to change' for Griezmann

The Frenchman has most strongly been linked to Manchester United in a deal that, if it does materialise, is likely to be worth €100 million.

But how did Griezmann rise to his current status as a Ballon d'Or contender? This is the story of his career so far.


REAL SOCIEDAD


Antoine Griezmann

Griezmann was born in Macon, a city of around 35,000 people on the Saone river in eastern France and just over 150 kilometres west of Geneva and the Swiss border. His mother is of Portuguese descent and his maternal grandfather, Amaro Lopes, played for Pacos de Ferreira.

Morata proving his worth to Madrid

He trained with the local team, UF Macon, while attending trials for professional clubs in a bid to land a place at an academy. One such trial match, in which Griezmann was playing for Montpellier against Paris Saint-Germain, saw him offered another audition at Real Sociedad in San Sebastian. Then 14, he subsequently signed a youth contract and moved to Spain.

Griezmann got his chance in the first team in the 2009-10 season, with Sociedad played in the Segunda Division. After impressing during pre-season, he started the campaign on the wing and went on to make 39 league appearances, scoring six goals as the Basque club won the title and promotion.

From there, Griezmann gradually emerged as a star in La Liga. Making his top-flight debut at age 19, his goalscoring totals rose from seven, to eight, to 11, to 20 before he was snapped up by Atletico Madrid for a fee said to be close to his €30m buy-out clause. His penultimate season with Sociedad saw the club qualify for the Champions League three years after they had won promotion.


ATLETICO MADRID


Antoine Griezmann

Griezmann was an instant hit at Atletico, elevating himself to superstardom by netting 22 goals in La Liga alone in his first season in Madrid. At the end of that 2014-15 campaign, he joined Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo as one of three forwards in the divisional team of the year.

His second season was even better, with Griezmann netting 22 again in the league but increasing his overall tally from 22 to 32 as a result of improved performances in the Champions League. He netted seven times in 13 games in that competition as Atletico lost in the final to Real Madrid on penalties after a 1-1 draw. Griezmann successfully converted his penalty in the shootout.

Take a look inside Paul Pogba's £2.9m mansion

Griezmann signed a new contract through to 2021 at the end of the 2015-16 campaign, with his release clause reportedly rising to €100m. Though his goalscoring tallies may fall slightly short of his mark for last season, 2016-17 has proven to be another fruitful campaign so far and Atletico are once again alive in the latter stages of the Champions League.

Diego Simeone has adapted Griezmann's playing style during his time at Atletico. He operated as a winger who liked to cut inside with Sociedad but has most commonly played as a second striker for Atletico, supporting forward partners Mario Mandzukic, Fernando Torres and now Kevin Gameiro. He prefers his left foot but is comfortable with his right and while his speed and skill is well-documented, he is also surprisingly good in the air and a dedicated team player, fitting into Atleti's ethos perfectly.


GRIEZMANN TRANSFER NEWS


Antoine Griezmann

Griezmann has been most heavily linked to Manchester United. According to a report in the Manchester Evening News last month, a deal to sign the Frenchman worth his €100m (£86m) release clause is on the verge of completion.

A collection of circumstancial evidence has strengthened the links with the Red Devils; his friendship with Pogba, his brother's enthusiastic support of the club and United's need for a big-name star to wear their No.7 shirt after Memphis Depay's departure, particularly with Zlatan Ibrahimovic's future in doubt.

The Sun have also tipped Chelsea to rival United's bid, but Barcelona and Real Madrid are not expected to be major contenders for his signature.


GRIEZMANN'S GIRLFRIEND


Griezmann is in a relationship with Erika Choperena, who he is said to have met in 2011 in San Sebastian during his spell at Real Sociedad. She was studying teaching at the time and the couple have since had a child - daughter Mia, who was born on April 8, 2016.

Erika has remained quite private and does not have any public social-media accounts, rarely appearing on Griezmann's own Instagram profile. The forward has dedicated goal celebrations to both her and Mia, however, revealing a t-shirt wishing her a happy birthday in March and sucking his thumb around the time of his daughter's birth.


GRIEZMANN'S HAIRCUT


Antoine Griezmann

In 2013, at Sociedad, and then again in 2015, Griezmann sported distinctive bleached blonde hair. He has built up a catalogue of styles since arriving at the Vicente Calderon that will be comparable to David Beckham by the end of his career at his current rate.

The latest, adopted this season, is a longer look that he has pulled back into an alice band. Griezmann had opted for something shorter and more simple for Euro 2016 and had shaved it very short in December 2015.

Antoine Griezmann

Antoine Griezmann

Antoine Griezmann

Antoine Griezmann


GRIEZMANN'S CELEBRATION DANCE


Antoine Griezmann

Another similarity Griezmann shares with Pogba is the signature celebration he has become known for. While the Man United star 'dabs', the Atletico man often marks goals by imitating a dance move from the music video for Drake's single 'Hotline Bling'.

Most famously, Griezmann gave the celebration a global audience by bringing it out for his two goals against Germany in the Euro 2016 semi-finals.

Next article:
Ramos wants Spain to believe in Enrique's team
Next article:
Kaka tips bright future for Paqueta after Milan agreement
Next article:
Usain Bolt earns contract offer from Maltese champions Valletta
Next article:
Throwback Tuesday:The time Alam Shah plundered seven goals against Laos
Next article:
I-League 2018-19: Edwin Vanspaul eyeing top three finish with Chennai City FC
Close