Antoine Griezmann has made many unusual trips in recent times, such as the one at his beginning of the season with Atlético, 30 minutes in 30 minutes, drowned out by circumstances of footballer marketing.
But there are two of those journeys that help to understand where perhaps the most fundamental footballer of this World Cup finalist France comes from.
The first goes from Los Pajaritos to Lusail, this Sunday's venue for the title match against Argentina (4:00 p.m., La1 and World Goal).
At midnight on Saturday, November 12, the weekend before the World Cup, the French forward hit a last run of more than 50 meters in Soria to cover up an attack by Almazán.
It was beyond the 80th minute, and Atlético was winning 0-2 in the first round of the Copa del Rey, but the Frenchman, throughout the game on the field, leaves not even a crumb, and Simeone wanted to underline it: "The attitude of Griezmann was huge, that's why he's world champion”.
After the semi-final at Al Bayt, the French federation boasted something similar in a tweet: "He made 101 pressures against Morocco, the record for a French footballer during this World Cup."
In that game he was also the most dangerous in France: he created four chances, twice as many as Mbappé, Tchouameni and Thuram, the following.
Griezmann flies in Qatar, and after the semifinal he remembered why: “I feel good, in my legs and in my mind.
The work I did on vacation afterwards did me good with Atleti”.
💥 𝗧𝗢𝗨𝗧 𝗧𝗘𝗥𝗥𝗔𝗜𝗡 💥@@antagriezmann A Effectué 𝟭𝟬𝟭 𝗽𝗿𝗲𝘀𝘀𝗶𝗻𝗴𝘀 Contre Le Maroc, a 𝗿𝗲𝗰𝗼𝗿𝗱 pour a jaueur français lors de cette coupe du monde 🇫🇷#fiersderebleus pic.twitter.com/cdi7aoxmcu
— Team of France ⭐⭐ (@equipedefrance) December 16, 2022
That is where the other of the trips that help explain this Griezmann begins: in three weeks of vacation and work in Ibiza, on an artificial grass field next to the UD Ibiza stadium.
Griezmann started work at seven in the morning, and while he finished he watched a small amusement park grow around him with various inflatables: a target, a goal, a slippery soccer field, a water slider.
At nine o'clock the children from the club's summer campus began to arrive, to whom they had promised a visit from one of their footballers, and who many mornings crossed paths with Griezmann in astonishment.
The plan designed with Atlético turned out, and the Frenchman appeared in Los Ángeles de San Rafael more refined than ever.
But then he was caught in a desperate situation.
The contract for which Barça had loaned him contained a mandatory purchase option of 40 million if he played at least 45 minutes in 50% of the games in which he was available in the two years on loan.
But Gil Marín did not want to pay so much for a footballer that he had sold for 120 million to the Barcelona club in 2019.
Three months before the World Cup, Griezmann found himself trapped;
Simeone could only use him for half an hour in each league match.
The matter contained even more delicate aspects if one takes into account the relationship between the two.
El Cholo considers the Frenchman his best work, and the attacker acknowledges that he owes a lot to the coach, whom he calls "coach".
The personal relationship does not stop with them.
Close neighbors on La Finca, their wives are friends and their daughters often play together.
They discussed the situation, and Griezmann chose to hold out, also after another conversation with Didier Deschamps, the French coach.
The 30-minute rationing plan did not seem like an obstacle to taking him to the World Cup.
But above all he endured for Simeone, for his relationship, and for what Simeone insisted on for him in the offices.
Although the situation was unblocked by the footballer's agency, which mediated a broken relationship between clubs.
Until on October 10, a month and a half after the World Cup, Gil Marín bought it back for 20 million.
For Griezmann it was a liberation, after weeks overwhelmed by a tangle that caught him when he was at his best.
His deployment in Qatar is proving to be formidable, in a position that he has not frequented too much but that Deschamps seems to have invented for him: behind Giroud and ahead of Tchouameni and Rabiot, with Dembélé and Mbappé at his sides.
From there he has emerged as a total game maker and destroyer.
He is, for example, the second player from France who has recovered the most loose balls, only behind the Tchouameni vacuum cleaner.
And he has had commitment even further back: only Koundé has blocked more shots than him.
Although where Griezmann has really dazzled has been in creating danger from that location in the center of operations that Deschamps has delayed.
Nobody in the tournament has given so many passes that ended in a shot, and nobody generates so many quality chances for their teammates: Opta calculates that he makes last passes that are worth 0.7 assists (xA) every 90 minutes, a long way from the next one, which was Kimmich, with 0.5.
The Frenchman has given birth in Qatar to an amazing version of the total footballer who only lacks the goal.
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