World Football

Griezmann one of the all-time greats – Deschamps

Didier Deschamps has hailed Antoine Griezmann as “one of the greatest players of all time” ahead of France’s Euro 2020 encounter with Hungary on Saturday.

Griezmann is fourth on the list of Les Bleus’ all-time leading goalscorers with 37 from 92 appearances.

The Barcelona forward was the leading scorer with six goals in the last European Championship and only Harry Kane bettered his tally of four when France won the World Cup in Russia three years ago.

Griezmann will have played in a record-extending 50 consecutive France games when he features in Budapest, where France can secure their place in the last 16 after beating Germany 1-0 in their opening match.

France boss Deschamps lavished praise on the former Atletico Madrid man for the all-round contribution he makes for the tournament favourites.

“Above and beyond the fact he’s playing consecutive games, which is wonderful for him, he may not be 20 but he takes very good care of himself, he’s a professional and managed to avoid different injuries he could have had,” Deschamps said in a media conference on Friday.

“The statistics speak for themselves, you can see the influence he has for the French national team through the goals he has scored and through his assists.

“Add to that the capacity to change games and get stuck in and defend when we don’t have the ball. He’s one of the greatest players of all time in Europe and worldwide.”

Deschamps added: “He is one of our technical leaders. He is a game changer with the way he moves, the control he has with the ball and the goals he is capable of scoring, and his assists. He is an offensive player, a very creative player and has this ability to think outside the box. 

“That’s something he has proven to us time and again, it’s remarkable to watch even though he’s happy to get back and defend. Maybe he does that a little bit too much.

“I’m not going to take this away from him. It is completely natural for him and important to our balance. This doesn’t prevent him from being a huge player and from having a huge presence on the pitch with regards to his efficiency up front.”

Deschamps confirmed that full-back Benjamin Pavard will be fit to play despite suffering a blow to the head in the victory over Germany.

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