“The goals record has been a challenge since my return,” said Antoine Griezmann on December 8, 2023, in a video published by his team Atlético de Madrid. Just ten days after the start of 2024, his wish has already been granted. By scoring a goal in his team’s defeat against Real Madrid (5-3), in the semi-final of the Spanish Super Cup, Wednesday January 10, in Riyadh, the 32-year-old became the top scorer in the history of his club. A look back, in a few key figures, on the brilliant career of the French striker.

Author of the equalizing goal on Wednesday evening, in the 37th minute while his team was trailing 2-1, the 2018 world champion brought his total with the Rojiblancos jersey to 174 goals in 368 matches. He thus overtakes Luis Aragonés (173 goals in 370 matches), who died in 2014 at the age of 75 and former coach of Atlético, as the club’s top scorer.

“For me it’s something incredible. It’s a matter of great pride. At half-time I felt a lot of emotion, but we had to get back into the match,” declared Antoine Griezmann at the Movistar microphone after the match, which was ultimately lost 5-3 in overtime.

Now adored by supporters at the Civitas Metropolitano, while his popularity plummeted after his time at Barcelona, ​​the vice-captain of the Blues wishes to remain humble about this new record. “I will never reach [the] height [of Aragonés], because I don’t think I will become a legend like him,” he explained to the press on December 19.

Known for his golden hair, Antoine Griezmann is also known for having been sold at a high price during the summer of 2019. Purchased for 120 million euros by FC Barcelona, ​​he became on this occasion the biggest transfer (in the direction of departures) of the history of the Colchoneros. But at Barça, with only 35 goals in 102 matches, the best player of Euro 2016 never had the expected influence. In the shadow of Lionel Messi, he did not find his place, and only offered glimpses of his talent.

While the eight-time Ballon d’Or chooses PSG, in the summer of 2021, to relieve the finances of the Blaugranas, Antoine Griezmann opts for a return to Atlético de Madrid. He was first loaned by Barça for two years with a purchase option set at 40 million euros. This was automatically triggered if the attacker played at least 45 minutes in 50% of the matches for which he was available.

To circumvent this purchase option, his coach, Diego Simeone, regularly relegates the Mâconnais to the sidelines during the 2021-2022 season. Then a compromise was finally found between Atlético and Barça in October 2022. The two clubs agreed on a permanent transfer of Antoine Griezmann for an amount of 20 million euros. A nice blow for the Madrilenians, especially given the good performances of the French international since. He is in fact the most decisive player for a Spanish club in 2023 with 26 goals and 18 assists.

Since August 31, 2017 and the Blues’ match against the Netherlands, “Grizou” (127 caps, 44 goals for the French team, fourth behind Olivier Giroud, Thierry Henry and Kylian Mbappé) has not missed a single international match . He now has 84 consecutive selections in the tricolor jersey. A record. The previous holder of this series was Patrick Vieira with 44 consecutive matches for the Blues between 1999 and 2002.

This longevity illustrates the privileged relationship that the Madrilenian maintains with Didier Deschamps. Since the Colchonero’s first selection in 2014, the two men have embodied the success of the Blues for a decade. “A human relationship and trust was created. I know what I owe him and what he does for this France team,” confided Didier Deschamps, in an interview with Téléfoot, November 12, 2023.

If many French internationals made their mark in Ligue 1 before going abroad, Antoine Griezmann did not have this path. Yet prodigious with his club Union du football Mâconnais (Saône-et-Loire), the young striker was initially shunned by French training centers. The reason ? A physique considered too frail at the time.

And it is in Spain that he will find his salvation. Spotted in 2005, at the age of 14, by the Real Sociedad club, the striker went into exile in Basque lands to perfect his football. He remained there until 2014, when he was transferred for 30 million euros to Atlético de Madrid, after 52 goals in 202 games for the San Sebastián club.

A time desired by Paris Saint-Germain, the 2018 world champion has never left Iberian soil in fifteen professional seasons. “I think my game is more Spanish,” he explained in an interview with L’Equipe in 2016.