“He took me under his wing and taught me how to drink ‘mate’,” said Griezmann, who is frequently seen holding a flask of the bitter tea loved by Argentinians and Uruguayans.
It continued when he went to Atletico, where the fitness coach, Oscar ‘the professor’ Ortega is also from Uruguay, and where he met Gimenez, Godin and also Cristian Rodriguez who left in 2015.
When Uruguay sealed qualification for the World Cup last October, Griezmann donned a Uruguay shirt and drove to Madrid airport to greet the two defenders when they returned. He also frequently declares his support for Uruguay in social media posts when they are in action.
He has also been made an honorary member of Penarol, one of Uruguay’s biggest clubs and where Rodriguez plays.
The friendship, however, will count for little when France take on Uruguay for a place in the semi-finals.
6 July : 2018