When thinking about the best of the best within the context of the beautiful game, these days, a few names come to mind. Neymar, Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Kylian Mbappe are probably the main four – but once upon a time, Antoine Griezmann was also featured in that debate.
While he hasn’t quite had the world class tenure at Barcelona that many expected, he’s certainly been a valuable member of the first team squad after his move from Atletico Madrid.
As it turns out, though, the Frenchman has already started thinking about life after La Liga.
“Winning La Liga and the Champions League with Barca would be a dream, and also my objective,” he said.
“Then there’s another World Cup in Qatar. And after that MLS.
“I don’t know which team, but I really want to play there. For me it’s an objective to end my career in the United States with the possibility of playing well and being a big part of the team and fighting for a title.”
Two years ago, ironically, Griezmann had the same thought process.
“Win a World Cup, a Champions League and then I can go and quietly play in the USA. That’s my ideal itinerary. It’s not bad, is it?
“If the plan goes like that, I’d sign for that now. I don’t know at which age I want to play in MLS, it’ll all depend on the trophies I’ll have won beforehand.”
While some people aren’t big fans of players going over to the United States in order to live out the glory years of their career, for many, they’ve earned the right to do so.
Griezmann, especially, has already been able to reach the top of the mountain both internationally and domestically – although you could argue he needs a Champions League title to his name before he can claim that.
At the age of just 29 he probably has a whole lot more to offer the game in Europe, but we just have to see how it all transpires. Perhaps it’ll be a slow burner of a potential move, or maybe, he’ll spring a surprise and head over there at the age of 31 or 32 – depending on whether or not Barca can claim that elusive UCL crown.
Whatever the case may be, the overriding fact of the matter is that we need to start seeing some more respect being sent out across Major League Soccer and beyond. It’s a young, blossoming league with a whole lot of appeal, and yet, the honest facts of that seem to be lost on the majority.
We’d all rather watch a high stakes European encounter from a quality standpoint, but what’s the point in not even trying to get the US up to that level?
They’ve proven themselves to be capable of going far in tournaments in the past on the international stage, and if they want to do that again, bringing in highly touted players from abroad is the direction they have to be moving in.