Antoine Griezmann to be honoured in Uruguay capital of Montevideo after World Cup gestures for France
Uruguay's capital, Montevideo, wants to honour Antoine Griezmann by declaring the France international an "illustrious visitor" of their city following the affectionate gestures recently shown by the player towards their country.
The newly crowned World Cup winner had a Uruguay flag, which a journalist had given him, draped over his shoulders in a postgame news conference after France beat Croatia in the final on Sunday.
The Atletico Madrid star, who scored a penalty in the 4-2 victory and was named Man of the Match for the third time in the tournament, has no Uruguay roots but does have friends that hail from the country.
"An administration process to declare Antoine Griezmann an illustrious visitor of Montevideo started on Monday," Deputy Secretary of the Montevideo City Hall, Christian Di Candia, told ESPN FC. "Our mayor, Daniel Martinez, has received countless requests from citizens to declare Griezmann an illustrious visitor when the player arrives to our country in December.
"We expect our mayor to sign the declaration in the next few weeks. Griezmann is not only a great footballer and a World Cup winner but has shown repeatedly his admiration for Uruguay and our culture. Our mayor considered it appropriate to treat him in the same way as other illustrious visitors. Once the declaration is signed, we will formally inform the player."
The 27-year-old has never been to Uruguay but is expected to travel later this year to the South American country to attend the wedding of Atletico teammate and Uruguay international, Diego Godin.
Godin is the godfather of Griezmann's daughter, Mia.
At a ceremony in the town hall, a plaque will be presented to Griezmann by the mayor.
"We understand he will visit our country for the first time in December for the wedding of his Atletico teammate and friend, Godin," Di Candia said. "He will spend a few days in Uruguay to visit our country."
Griezmann has expressed a fondness for the country's culture since his playing days at Real Sociedad where he worked under coach Martin Lasarte and played alongside Carlos Bueno, two Uruguayans.
The Frenchman scored in that game but did not celebrate out of respect for his Uruguayan friends.
"We've been surprised by his gestures, including not celebrating when scoring against Uruguay, but he also generates an admiration for a culture that for different reasons he has adopted and considers his own," Di Candia said. "One hears him speak in Spanish and he even has a Uruguay tone. It goes beyond a caprice, it truly is a profound admiration for our country and for us it's important that it is displayed in the world."
Uruguay president Tabare Vazquez also praised the Atletico star and said earlier this week in a letter addressed to Griezmann that it would be "an honour" to invite the player to his official residence in Montevideo later this year.