Football News

“The most underrated player in existence” – Thierry Henry hails France’s reliable Antoine Griezmann

By Harry Edwards

Published: 19:59, 21 March 2024

France legend Thierry Henry has dubbed Antoine Griezmann the most underrated player in existence.

Didier Deschamps is planning his squad for the European Championships this summer, with the hope of going one further than they did at the World Cup. Les Bleus were beating finalists against Argentina in 2022 and also lost the European Championships final in 2016 — though they won the 2018 World Cup in between.

It appears to be a new era in France with a good portion of their squad set to be players aged 25 or younger. But there are still expected to be a few experienced heads including all-time top scorer Olivier Giroud, who recently overtook Henry at the top of the charts.

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Another older name set to be on the list is Griezmann, who recently saw an insane run come to an end. The Atletico Madrid forward played in 84 consecutive matches for France since being an unused sub in their 3-2 win over England way back in June 2017.

The last time Griezmann wasn’t in a France squad was in November 2016, when injury got the better of him, and that’s the case this time around with an ankle problem ruling him out. Ever-present for France, Griezmann has scored goals at the 2018 World Cup and Euro 2020, as well as assists in the UEFA Nations League Finals and 2022 World Cup during that run.

But he doesn’t get the plaudits some feel he deserves. In fact, Henry believes he’s one of the most underrated players of all.

“We must not forget Griezmann, who reminds us that hard work is a talent,” Henry told Le Parisien when talking of France’s attacking talent.

“Griezmann is by far the most underrated player in existence.

“We often talk about Kylian, so much so that I am even in favour of abusing him. But Griezmann… look at his passes and his goals.

“Tell me who in history could play all four offensive positions like him? There aren’t many. Grizou is one of them.”

During his 84-game run for France, Griezmann has played on the wing, central midfield, as a striker and in an attacking midfield position. It’s a similar story at Atletico Madrid this season, with Griezmann playing as the striker, behind the striker, on the wing and pretty much everywhere that isn’t defence.

In La Liga, Griezmann has scored 11 goals and provided six assists with Atletico Madrid pushing for top four finish. In the Champions League, Griezmann has six goals, including one against Inter Milan as Atletico Madrid secured their spot in the quarter-finals.

Henry: Mbappe has already overtaken me

While Henry was intent on making sure Griezmann got his flowers, the former Arsenal man did still reserve some words for Kylian Mbappe. The Paris Saint-Germain forward is the star of the French team, the main focus for all the marketing and the player on which you feel the hopes of a nation rest.

At the age of 25, Mbappe has scored 46 goals in 75 games for France, already taking him to third on the list of the nation’s all-time top scorers. Thierry Henry is second on 51 with Giroud leading the way on 56. However, it won’t be long before Mbappe does take top spot. And Henry believes Mbappe has already surpassed him.

“He has already overtaken me! It’s already done,” Henry said.

“Kylian is already in the future and that’s good anyway because he’s France, he’s our football and we need this guy who represents us kind of everywhere.

“Kylian is extraordinary. He’s mad.”