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Antoine Griezmann returns to Atlético: what he means to the club

Antoine Griezmann is back at Atlético, a club where he tasted incredible success in his previous five-year spell.

Antoine Griezmann back at Atlético
Antoine Griezmann back at Atlético

After two years away, Antoine Griezmann has returned to Atlético Madrid, where he scored 94 goals in 180 Spanish Liga appearances between 2014 and 2019.

The French forward was also instrumental in the Rojiblancos' run to the 2016 UEFA Champions League final and their 2018 victories in the UEFA Europa League and UEFA Super Cup – as well as France's runners-up finish at UEFA EURO 2016 (where he was Player of the Tournament) and their 2018 FIFA World Cup triumph. We celebrate his achievements as Griezmann goes back to the future.

What they say

Griezmann made his name at Real Sociedad
Griezmann made his name at Real SociedadAFP via Getty Images

"He’s an important player in a side that needs to be champions – both with France and Atlético. He knows exactly when to choose decisive moments. When he's sharp and physically in form, there's nobody in the world who can understand and interpret football like him."
Diego Simeone, Atlético Madrid coach

"You can see the influence he has with the goals he scores and assists he makes. Then add to that the capacity he has to change the game, while getting back and doing his defensive duties. He is one of the greatest players of all time, both in Europe and worldwide."
Didier Deschamps, France coach

"Antoine is one of the best players in the world. He's an intelligent, cunning and very talented footballer. He's also really good in the air. You have to keep a close eye on him because he has the ability to lose you at any moment."
Adil Rami, Troyes defender and former France team-mate

"He's always happy; he's a delight to have as a player. Despite the pressure on him, he's always smiling, looking to have fun, and it's a breath of fresh air."
Philippe Montanier, former Real Sociedad coach

Current tally

International: 95 appearances, 38 goals
UEFA club competition: 81 appearances, 32 goals

Atlético claims to fame

How Griezmann led Atlético to glory
How Griezmann led Atlético to glory

• Atlético triggered Griezmann's €30m buy-out clause to entice him from San Sebastián side Real Sociedad in summer 2014, with coach Simeone saying: "Antoine is a brilliant player. He's really quick and he'll give us lots of options in attack."

• His 21 UEFA Champions League goals for Atleti mean he is the Rojiblancos' top marksman in the UEFA Champions League/European Cup. He surpassed club legend Luis Aragonés's record when netting his 13th Atlético goal in the competition in a 4-2 defeat of Bayer Leverkusen on 21 February 2017.

• Scored the decisive goal in a backs-to-the-wall display in Germany as Atlético defeated Bayern München on away goals to reach the 2016 UEFA Champions League final. The Frenchman did, however, miss a penalty in the showpiece event.

• The forward eclipsed Sergio Agüero as Atleti's leading scorer in all UEFA competitions by notching his 21st continental goal in Atlético colours against Arsenal in the 2017/18 UEFA Europa League semi-finals.

• Griezmann then added two more to his tally in the Rojiblancos' 3-0 victory against Marseille in the final, securing the first European trophy of his career.

France claims to fame

Antoine Griezmann: EURO 2016 top scorer
Antoine Griezmann: EURO 2016 top scorer

• His six goals brought him the golden shoe at UEFA EURO 2016, though it was a bittersweet experience as hosts France lost the final 1-0 to Portugal. "Maybe later I can feel proud," he said.

• He followed up at the 2018 World Cup by scoring four times, including in the final against Croatia, as France lifted the trophy for the second time. Griezmann was named man of the match in the Moscow decider and was also awarded the Bronze Ball after being voted the third best player in the tournament.

Did you know?

• Football is in his blood. His maternal grandfather Amaro Lopes played for local team Paços de Ferreira in his native Portugal before moving to France for work. His mother, Isabelle, was born in France but the link to Portugal remained, Griezmann spending summer holidays back in his grandfather's home town.

• Having been in Spain since he was 13, Griezmann says he has taken on certain Spanish traits, explaining: "I think in French but get angry in Spanish."

Griezmann watching the Boston Celtics and the Philadelphia 76ers in London in 2018
Griezmann watching the Boston Celtics and the Philadelphia 76ers in London in 2018Getty Images

• While he loves football and frequently comments on social media while watching matches, soccer is not the only sport Griezmann is crazy about. Despite his relatively modest height, he is a huge basketball fan and often plays in his spare time.

• Griezmann's tattoos include an Arabic translation of a line from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's The Little Prince ("Make your life a dream, and make your dream a reality"), images of Jesus and the Virgin Mary, his parents' initials and 'FAME', the title of a Chris Brown album – the initials stand for Forgiving All My Enemies and Fans Are My Everything.

• Rapper Drake inspired a Griezmann goal celebration: the 'two mobile phone' move derives from the Hotline Bling video.

• He has had a special affinity with his South American club-mates, notably sipping a cup of regional hot drink 'mate' wherever he goes. "It's like tea or coffee," he said. "I drink it all the time before training. It wakes me up."

What he says

Griezmann on Atlético's UEFA Europa League final win
Griezmann on Atlético's UEFA Europa League final win

"I try to be a complete player – in attack and defence – and to improve every year. I've already got more assists this year and that's the most important thing."

"When I'm on the pitch, I enjoy myself and try to give my all. My team-mates, the boss and the fans want more from me and I'm pleased about that. It's like when you played on the street with your friends. Now every time I score, I turn into a little boy again. It's impossible to explain how happy scoring makes you."

What he might achieve yet

• Break the 22-goal barrier: he had his best domestic campaigns with 22 league goals in 2014/15 and 2015/16 but has been unable to reach 20 since, hitting 19 in 2017/18.

• Become France's all-time leading scorer: he is fourth in the rankings with 38 goals, behind just Michel Platini (41), Olivier Giroud (46) and Thierry Henry (51). Griezmann is also two goals shy of Platini's record French haul of nine goals at EURO final tournaments

• Join the select club of French national-team centurions: he is on 95 caps and within sight of the eight players to have made 100 appearances or more for Les Bleus. Lilian Thuram tops the list with 142 caps.

• Karim Benzema's French goalscoring records in Europe will take a serious effort to catch. The Real Madrid ace is the top French marksman in the UEFA Champions League/European Cup (71) and all UEFA club competitions (72); Griezmann has hit 26 (including qualifiers) in the former category and 32 in the latter.