France head coach Didier Deschamps recently described Antoine Griezmann as “very important” which is an understatement given he’s not missed a single game since June 2017.
Griezmann, who turned 32 earlier this year, has been an ever-present for Les Bleus since that aforementioned summer. In other words, the Atletico Madrid forward has played 81 consecutive matches (consisting of competitive outings and friendlies) setting a new benchmark at this level.
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The native of Mâcon missed their 3-2 win over England on June 13, 2017, but has since made up for lost time and then some. On return against the Netherlands the following month he scored once and created another as France ran out 4-0 winners.
During this period of unrelenting consistency: the Atletico Madrid man subsequently registered 28 goals — with four of those enabling him to become France’s joint-top scorer at World Cup 2018 — while providing 27 assists.
Those efforts have brought him to within 10 goals shy of France’s all-time top-scoring record, held by Giroud (54 goals), and 22 appearances short of Hugo Lloris’ record for most games played (145). He would finish third in the 2018 Ballon d’Or standings as well as claiming the 2018 World Cup Bronze Ball and Silver Boot.
𝑺𝒍𝒊𝒅𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒉𝒆𝒂𝒅𝒆𝒓 😅 pic.twitter.com/oWsth5N7Z7
— French Team ⭐⭐ (@FrenchTeam) October 11, 2023
In contention to become France’s permanent captain under Deschamps that honour was instead reserved for Kylian Mbappe but Griezmann remains an integral part of his squad.
“Antoine, he has something additional as well, he has always been a very important player, I have always kept my confidence in him during much more difficult periods for him. Antoine, with what he does on the pitch, he is a key pillar in the sense of being the motor. He was and he will remain so in the future,” he said.