Antoine Griezmann, one of the stars of the current UEFA European Championship, is one of the most successful French football players of the moment.
But if you don´t know he is French, you could easily mistake him for a Uruguayo: Griezmann carries his mate and thermos flask around with him almost everywhere he goes – just google “Griezmann & mate” and see for yourself!
Already in his early career Griezmann had contact to the Uruguayan culture. After being rejected by all French league clubs, he started playing for the club Real Sociedad de Fútbol in the Spanish Basque Country. In 2009, Uruguayan coach Martín Lasarte, who also “discovered” Luis Suarez, was contracted by La Real Sociedad and promoted Griezmann to play in the club´s first team. It was also Lasarte who gave Griezmann his first mate-kit as a gift: a mate-gourd, a bombilla – the metal straw though which you drink the tea – and yerba, the ground tea-leaves.
Since 2014 Griezmann is now playing for Atlético Madrid and is often seen sharing his mate with his close friends and Uruguayan team mates Diego Godín and Josema Giménez.
Check out this youtube-video from the French Football Association:
Atminute5.10 Griezmann shows his mate and explains how to drink it.
Here my (very free!) translation: “The thermos flask holds hot water, the bombilla is the straw through which you sip the water. Inside you put the yerba (tea leaves) and the hot water...and then you just drink it. It´s like coffee or tea. I drink it before the training session in the morning or in the evening. I drink it all the time – it wakes me up. (I have passed) 30 blood samples, 20 anti-doping test....it´s not doping.”
By the way, the mate you see in the clip was a gift from Diego Godín.
Of course, being German, I will cross my fingers for the German team this coming Thursday when they will play against France in the semi-finals.
However, Antoine Griezmann seems to be a pretty cool guy and he has all my sympathy for being a true ¨honorary¨ Uruguayo!