Antoine Griezmann 20 Winger Real Sociedad
The charismatic Antoine Griezmann represents something of an oddity in European football. A Frenchman that plays his club football in La Liga. Disregarded by clubs in his native land (many of whom deemed him too small), Griezmann’s talent was embraced by Real Sociedad, who offered the slightly built fourteen year old a trial.
Born in Mâcon in Southern France, Griezmann’s ongoing development in the Basque country went largely unnoticed by scouts and coaches of the French Football Association, but some impressive performances for Sociedad alerted attention to the youngster at the end of the last decade. Now recognised in his own country, Griezmann was part of the French team that won the 2010 UEFA European Under-19 Football Championship on home soil.
Earlier this year Griezmann signed a five year contract with Real Sociedad which incorporated a release clause of €30 million. A sensible move on the club’s part considering the positive steps their player has made over the last year. Having given Sergio Ramos a particularly torrid time when playing against Real Madrid last season, Griezmann started 2011-12 brightly, scoring the equalizing goal for Sociedad in a 2–2 draw against Barcelona.
Griezmann’s determination to learn and improve is a prominent feature of a rapidly enhancing game. Pace and trickery, the prerequisite features of a young winger’s arsenal, are ensconced but positional awareness, crossing and the need to track back have noticeably improved over the last 12 months. Former Sociedad striker Meho Kodro, now a youth coach with the club, claimed recently that “Griezmann has a mind on the field like that of no other I’ve seen”. An impressive assertion but with an attitude to match an already strong game, the end product looks well on course to justify the hype.
"On the brink of greatness. Has been wonderful for Sociedad, still goes missing for spells during games but when he's on he's on." - Andrew Gibney (French Football Weekly)
"The boy who was once told he was too small has thrived on the big stage. Guardiola’s even had time to mention him. Griezmann is ambitious though, and for all that he’s achieved so far he wants much so much more. Quick, fearless, and smart – no one talks about his height anymore. Real Sociedad’s child will soon leave the nest, and he’ll have plenty of suitors." - David Cartlidge (Spanishfootball.info)
C+ Good work, but can you do more?