We always talk about special players like Neymar, Suarez and Iniesta when we mention players who deserved a Ballon d’Or. But there’s one player that doesn’t get mentioned in these conversations.
That player is Antoine Griezmann. In 2016 Griezmann lost the Champions League final and he lost the euros final. This led to him losing out on the 2016 Ballon d’Or. This Wednesday we are going to have a look at the rise of prime Griezmann.
Griezmann moves to Spain
Griezmann joined Spanish side Real Sociedad in 2009. In only his first season, the frenchman helped them gain promotion back into La liga. Griezmann possessed a unique skillset that allowed him to play all across the front three, as a second striker and an attacking midfielder.
He was seen as the leagues next big talent. The striker continued to impress and showcase his ability at the highest level of Spanish football. He ended his time at Real Sociedad with over 200 appearances as well as over 50 goals.
Griezmann’s stellar first season at Atletico
In the summer of 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. It didn’t take long for him to settle in scoring a brace early on in the season. He also scored his first hat-trick a few games later. On top of that, his impressive January performances earned him the La Liga player of the month.
On the 25th of 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 Benzema for the most goals scored by a French player in a single La Liga campaign. He finished the season with 22 league goals in 37 games. In addition, he was selected to be in the Team of the Year at the LFP awards. Griezmann was the only Atlético player chosen and was in a front three consisting of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
Antoine’s Rise to Prominence
Moving onto the 2015-16 season, Griezmann took it up another level. Antoine was crucial in Atlético Madrid’s run to the Champions League final. He scored 7 goals including crucial goals in both the quarter and semi finals to knock out heavyweights Barcelona and Bayern Munich. In the final Griezmann missed a penalty to level the game but made up for it by scoring in the penalty shootout. Unfortunately, this wouldn’t be enough to get the job done as Atlético lost on penalties to bitter rivals Real Madrid. He ended the season with 32 goals in 52 games.
Grizemann’s performances earned him a spot in the French national team for Euro 2016. He was France’s best player scoring 6 goals in 7 games and leading them to the final. However, in the final France lost 1-0 which would be Griezmann’s second finals loss of the season. The frenchmen would still go on to win the Euro player of the tournament award.
Despite his impressive form and ridiculous output Griezmann finished the season without a trophy. He lost the Champions League and he lost the Euros. These two disappointments would ultimately see him slip down the 2016 Ballon d’Or rankings. A very unfortunate ending to prime Griezmann’s season.
Griezmann helps France to World Cup success
Griezmann helped France win the ultimate prize in football. He scored 4 goals and got 2 assists in the 2018 World Cup. In the final, France took on Croatia. Antoine helped in several goals as France won 4-2. Griezmann was named man of the match and was also voted the third best player in the tournament behind Luka Modric and Eden Hazard receiving the Bronze Ball. At the international level, Griezmann has had an exceptional career always stepping up for France when needed.
The final years of Griezmann
Although Griezmann’s big move to Barcelona didn’t go to plan, he is back to his usual self at Atlético Madrid. This season he has 13 goals and 13 assists in 34 league games. On top of that, he helped France reach yet another World Cup final.
Antoine Griezmann is undoubtedly one of the most underrated players in the world. Despite his exceptional skills, versatility, and consistent performances, he often doesn’t receive the recognition he truly deserves. Griezmann’s ability to excel in various positions, whether as a striker, attacking midfielder, or even on the wings, is a testament to his adaptability and intelligence on the field.
Overshadowed by the limelight given to other high-profile players. It’s time to acknowledge Griezmann’s immense talent and appreciate his invaluable contributions to the beautiful game.
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