So much of Antoine Griezmann’s is a response to disappointments. He was forced to move to Spain at a young age after being rejected from French clubs for being “too small” and now he’s France’s top scorer at the Euros. He was in tears on the pitch after France’s quarterfinal loss to Germany at the 2014 World Cup and at Euro 2016 he scored both goals to beat them 2-0 in the semifinals. At the Champions League final in May, he missed an important penalty for Atletico Madrid as they lost to Real Madrid and in the match against Germany he converted an important penalty to open the scoring.
Griezmann has now scored six goals at Euro 2016 — the most from one player since Michel Platini scored a record nine for France at Euro ’84. Though other players who have been through what Griezmann has might play like every goal is an act of vengeance, part of what makes him so endearing is that he plays with such joy and even a bit of humor, as demonstrated by his “Hotline Bling” goal celebrations.
Off the pitch he has furthered his position as one of the new leaders of the French team by presenting the match ball from the game against Ireland to the son of a police officer killed in a terrorist attack.
He also does voices.
Along with the extraordinary performances from the equally lovable Paul Pogba and Dimitri Payet, it’s easy to enjoy this French team and hope that they win another trophy on home soil — one that would have meaning beyond football after last year’s Paris attacks.