What makes a world champion? Netflix’s documentary – Antoine Griezmann: The Making of a Legend – sheds light on Griezmann’s early career and moments that led to the French National team taking home the Football World Cup in 2018.
Grizou – as he is popularly known – was rejected by a host of French football clubs at the very beginning of his career in France. His small frame and lack of physicality led to many clubs dismissing him before he even entered his teens.
The documentary focuses on how Grizou was able to, with the help of his parents, handle the pressure of rejection at a very young age. Upon finally receiving his chance in Spain at Real Sociedad, Griezmann left France to begin his professional career in Spain at the age of 14. Away from his family and friends, he talks about how he had difficulties adjusting to life in the Basque region of Spain. Even though Spanish football encouraged a player of his abilities and technical prowess, he did take over a year to truly settle into the club and later grabbed his opportunity to become a regular starter for Sociedad.
The documentary jumps alternatively between scenes from Griezmann’s youth and scenes that give the viewer an insight into the French national team and their journey to the World Cup.
Amongst those who spoke about Griezmann’s journey is French coach Didier Deschamps, compatriot and Atletico Madrid teammate Theo Hernandez and his daughter's godfather, and Atletico Madrid captain Diego Godin. It is because of Godin, Carlos Bueno and many Uruguayans who helped him shape his game, that he did not celebrate in the World Cup. The experts talk about the important stages in the French star’s life and how he adjusted his game being a small forward in a contact sport, even winning headers against some of the tallest defenders in the world.
Behind the scenes, training sessions of the French teams were few but will give the football fans an insight into the methods used by the team to formulate strategies for every opponent they faced in the World Cup. There has been a recent trend of making training sessions available on streaming platforms and the documentary does not shy away from this trend by giving us many peeks.
One of the major things that is highlighted in the documentary is the importance of Griezmann’s presence in all the teams he has played for in terms of his assists and goals at the most important times.
One of the more telling and personal scenes in the documentary is when Griezmann learns that his sister was in the Bataclan rock concert during a terrorist attack. It is one of the few times that he talks about one of his siblings.
However, it would have been interesting to see a bit more about the interpersonal relationships that the star shared with his teammates, especially Paul Pogba. There are times when the documentary seems to streamline and give a restricted look at the situations in Grizou’s life. The scenes focus strictly on his professional life and there is little to know about the person Griezmann is off the pitch.