France talisman Antoine Griezmann claims that he will be facing off against his 'second country' when Les Bleus take on Uruguay in the quarter final of the World Cup on Friday, admitting that it will be an emotional experience to play against so many of his closest friends.
The Atlético Madrid star has been involved in all four of France's games at the World Cup this summer, scoring in their first match against Australia and most recently in a thrilling win over Argentina, with both goals coming from the penalty spot.
The 27-year-old will be just as eager to get on the scoresheet on Friday when France take on Uruguay in Nizhny Novgorod, but Griezmann admits that he does have a soft spot for La Celeste ahead of the game.
"Uruguay is my second country," Griezmann told FIFA (via Marca). "It's a nation and people that I love and I have many friends there. It's going to be a great game to play in and a really emotional experience too."
Griezmann may not be connected to Uruguay through his immediate family, but all throughout his footballing career, he's had support from a number of Uruguayan coaches and players.
The former UF Maconnais academy player was coached by Martín Lasarte at Real Sociedad, a manager who was instrumental in helping Griezmann adapt to life in Spain. The Frenchman also met one of his closest friends, Carlos Bueno, during a five-year spell in the club's first team.
Griezmann's time in San Sebastián came to an end in 2014, with Uruguay international Diego Godin recommending a move to the Spanish capital. During their time together at Atlético, the defender even became the godfather of the Frenchman's daughter.