Montevideo, July 17 (IANS) Uruguay’s capital Montevideo seeks to name France football team’s forward Antoine Griezmann as a distinguished visitor during his possible visit to the South American country, Deputy Secretary of the Montevideo City Hall, Christian Di Candia has said.
Di Candia said Montevideo mayor Daniel Martinez “requested to start the administrative process” of this project as a result of “the innumerable amount of rallies in favour of the player”, reports Efe.
Di Candia also stressed that “it has been publicly stated” that Griezmann will visit Uruguay in December, when he is expected to receive a distinguished visitor memorial plaque.
Di Candia added that if the trip is postponed, it will be given “at another time”.
Before France’s quarter-final against Uruguay on July 6, 27-year-old Griezmann spoke of his affinity with the South American country, its people and their customs. Even though he scored against Uruguay, he refused to celebrate.
The Atletico Madrid star is good friends with Uruguay centre-backs Diego Godin and Jose Gimenez and is an avid fan of mate, a popular herbal drink in Uruguay, Argentina, Paraguay and southern Brazil.
Griezmann also shared a special relationship with his former coach at Real Sociedad, Uruguayan Martín Lasarte under whom the Frenchman played between 2009-2011 at the Spanish club.
The recognition is granted to foreigners who visit the South American country and who, due to their artistic, cultural, sporting or philosophical talents, deserve to be a distinguished guest.
“In this case we are talking about a distinguished athlete, world champion and someone who has somehow put the name of Uruguay in the public arena recently. Someone who stood out in some way as a fan of our country and our customs,” he said.
For Di Candia, Griezmann “shows a lot of respect” for Uruguayan football culture.
After being chosen as best player in the 2018 World Cup Russia final, the Atletico de Madrid striker participated in a press conference in which an Uruguayan journalist offered him the flag of his country.
Griezmann claimed it and put it on his shoulders before continuing with the conference, without removing it until completing his talk with the media.