(Credit: Антон Зайцев)

From Drake to Post Malone: Barcelona striker Antoine Griezmann picks his pre-match playlist

“If I am happy in my personal life, I will be happy in my profession.”—Antoine Griezmann

For a long time now, France and Barcelona forward Antoine Griezmann has been in the higher echelons of world football, a career spearheaded by his unique ability to play the game with a wonderous amount of grace and football intelligence. Like many athlete’s operating at the highest level, Griezmann’s journey has not been a straightforward one and, along the way, has overcome challenges which ranged way beyond his tender age.

Having begun his career playing for hometown club UF Mâcon, a picturesque but sleepy a city in east-central France, like a lot of young hopefuls Griezmann had lofty ambitions of expanding his footballing journey to the glitz and glamour of European’s elite. However, given his slight frame and delicate approach to the sport, the talented striker was met by repeated rejection upon first embarking on his journey, trials at mid-level professional clubs refusing to pick him up with fears that the robust nature of first-class sport would be a challenge too great for him to take on.

Trials with major Ligue 1 clubs such as Montpellier and Paris Saint-Germain would come and go but to no avail. Refusing to back down on his dream, however, a young Griezmann was afforded the opportunity to pursue a life withing personal sport—but it would come at a personal cost. While French football scouts were deterred by Griezmann’s physique, Spanish football chiefs were a little more open-minded in their talent search and, after a one-week trial in San Sebastián, the child prodigy accepted an offer from Real Sociedad and would spend his teenage years living in the Basque Country. “Many clubs rejected me, but I wanted to be a footballer and to learn as quickly as possible, so I persisted until I got into Real Sociedad when I was 13,” he once said, a quote which typifies Griezmann’s desire from a young age.

Moving countries is a turbulent and disruptive time for any child and, understandably, Griezmann’s parents were initially reluctant to approve such a decision. Furthermore, given their careers in France, the decision was not to move the family to Spain but, instead, to allow their 13-year-old child to leave alone. After receiving assurances from club officials, the decision was made. Griezmann, initially struggling with the language and new surroundings, would regularly cross the border into Bayonne, a region of southwest France in order to attend school. At the same time, he was training with the club’s youth academy and lodging with their French scout. While it would take some time for the budding forward to break into the Real Sociedad first team, his opportunity arrived in 2009 and he didn’t look back, scoring a remarkable 46 goals in 180 appearances, a record which would ultimately earn him a mega-money transfer to Atletico Madrid and, of course, his progression would see his well-documented expansion join the likes of Lionel Messi at Barcelona’s iconic Camp Nou.

It is this background which makes Griezmann’s maturity all the more fascinating. Still just 29-years-old, the striker offers a glimpse into the modern realities of a professional footballer but does so in the knowledge that he is soon to enter the most crucial years of his career. Famous for his light-hearted nature to media responsibilities, famed for his off-field personality and, in certain circles, celebrated for his commitment to online gaming. While Griezmann is tasked with plying his trade at the highest possible level both on a club and international stage, the striker does so with a perfectly balanced mindset of relaxation and professionalism.

Here, we take a look at a selection of tracks that the forward likes to zone out to on gameday. In collaboration with his Puma sponsor, Griezmann offered a fascinating insight into the beats that help him channel his inner-determination. Expect the likes of Migos, Fetty Way, Post Malone, J Cole and more.

See the playlist, below.

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