- The Frenchman previews tie between former clubs Monaco and Juventus
- Assesses Antoine Griezmann’s qualities ahead of Real Madrid reunion
- 1998 World Cup winner discusses development of Les Bleus
David Trezeguet spent almost half his life at two teams. He was with Monaco for five seasons, where he whet his appetite for trophies and earned international renown, before making history in a decade at Juventus. He will therefore be keeping a close eye on the upcoming UEFA Champions League semi-final between the two clubs.
While he looks forward to that tie with divided loyalties, the Frenchman and FIFA Legend is also eagerly awaiting the other last-four clash in what will be a re-match of last year’s final, in which his compatriot Antoine Griezmann could be a pivotal figure.
In this exclusive interview, Trezeguet discusses Griezmann’s improvement under Diego Simeone and gives his thoughts on both Champions League fixtures.
FIFA.com: The encounter between Monaco and Juventus will be an extra special one for you. What was the first thing that went through your mind when you saw the draw and how will you experience it?
David Trezeguet: To be honest, I wanted a Monaco-Juventus final, but they got drawn in the semis. It’s a special game for me because both clubs have been an important part of my life. I think Juventus are favourites given their history, but having seen what Monaco have done, they’ll compete on an equal footing.
What do you make of the match-up between Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid? What role do you think your countryman Antoine Griezmann will play?
Real Madrid are used to these kinds of games and to competing at a high level. Their players are so effective, so they’re serious contenders to retain the Champions League trophy. On the other hand, I think Antoine will have an important part to play because he’s Atletico’s key man. On top of that, this tie could be a kind of personal revenge for losing the final in Milan, when he missed a penalty. He’s been doing well again this year, which is very important both for the team and for him personally.
— Antoine Griezmann (@AntoGriezmann) 12 April 2017
Griezmann was among the three finalists for The Best FIFA Men’s Player Award 2016 alongside Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. Do you think he is at their level?
Both Messi and Ronaldo are players who have demonstrated unique potential throughout their careers and I’m sure Antoine views them as examples to follow in order to keep developing and to win titles. He’s a young player, he’s got the ability and he’s performing in a team that’s been built around him. ‘El Cholo’ Simeone, a coach we all know well and who’s considered among the best in the world, has motivated him a lot and now we’re starting to see his quality. I think Griezmann’s got all the attributes to succeed those other two geniuses.
Which of his attributes stands out the most?
Antoine is an interesting player because he’s someone who likes to link up with the midfielders and the strikers. That ability to be involved in the team’s play is very good. He’s always alert, both in terms of defence and attack, he scores a lot of goals and he’s still getting better. He’s improving his vision out on the pitch and he’s quicker too. He’s also a player who can adapt to any situation, which is interesting in modern football. There’s no doubt we’re witnessing a phenomenon in action.
In addition to being the focal point at Atletico, Griezmann is also a leading member of a France side very much in the ascendancy. What has impressed you most about Les Bleus under the stewardship of your former team-mate Didier Deschamps?
France are becoming title contenders again. This generation of players, spearheaded by Griezmann, have managed to resonate with the French public once more. The fans believe in them and their coach. Even though they lost the final of the EURO to Portugal, there has been a significant shift in the atmosphere, including among the team and the sense of commitment from the players towards their country. And after having had different idols in different generations, I think Griezmann is the most symbolic member of this crop of players because of his age, his desire and because he’s shown he’s a top player.