When not playing Football Manager the hard way, Barcelona and France striker Antoine Griezmann is playing soccer. When he’s not doing that, he might be watching Yu-Gi-Oh! But does he play it? Hrm...
Konami has named the soccer star an official ambassador for the card game franchise. His relationship with Konami started after he tweeted that he loved Yu-Gi-Oh! and asked to get some cards.
Since Antoine Griezmann is, well, Antoine Griezmann, he got sent a large box of cards and was invited out to Japan. This ended up with Konami offering to make him his own card, which will be released at some time in the future.
Griezmann first got into Yu-Gi-Oh! through the anime as a kid, but doesn’t seem to have much experience with the trading card game. “So I tried to play with a friend, but it was complicated with the whole points system of adding and subtracting points,” Griezmann told YouTuber Lithium2300. A young Griezmann did not play against others, but would just play the deck by himself. “As a kid, I didn’t really play against friends. It was more in front of the TV, in my room with my desk, summoning monsters.”
Lithium2300 then pointed to some cards on the table, saying, “I think these are some of the most known cards ever in this game’s history: Ra, Obelisk, and Slifer.” He then asked Griezmann which one was his favorite and why.
“I think that one, because I saw it in an episode,” Griezmann said, pointing to Slifer. “The other two not yet. So I’m more attracted to that one since I’ve already seen it.” Lithium2300 politely explained that the character was also the boss monster of the main character Yugi.
This is not quite the same as being just about able to identify Pikachu as a character you’ve seen once in the Pokémon anime, but it certainly seems to underscore the idea that Griezmann doesn’t know much about the card game. Then, Lithium2300 decided to give him a pop quiz, reading text from random cards. While he did get one out of three correct, here’s how the first one went down:
(The answer is Pot of Greed.)
You can watch the full interview below:
For more excellent Yu-Gi-Oh! coverage, check out Lithium2300's YouTube channel right here.
The official Konami interview went slightly better but still had its rocky patches. When asked what his best Yu-Gi-Oh! experience was, he replied, “Four of five months ago when I was selected for international duty, and traveling to Russia and Kazakhstan, I started to watch Yu-Gi-Oh! again and it was amazing.”
After being asked if he had a deck as a kid, he replied that he had his own cards, but not many kids to play Yu-Gi-Oh! with. “Now that I have a lot of them at home, I have everything I need to Duel, but I have to train more as it’s quite complex nowadays.”
It seems evident that Griezmann watched the anime as a kid, but really didn’t play much—nor does he appear to play now. And you know what? That’s fine! This might be a cash grab, but that’s what endorsements are. Famous people get paid money to promote things, whether that’s cars, shampoo, or, here, a trading card game. I think it’s just neat to see a world-famous soccer player promoting Yu-Gi-Oh! It’s also great to see him interviewed on a Yu-Gi-Oh! centric YouTube channel, albeit in a Konami-sponsored clip.
While, sure, he doesn’t know the Trading Card Game inside and out, his ambassadorship might bring in new players, who could totally fall in love with the game. That’s a good thing.
At the end of the Konami interview, he’s asked why he teamed up with Yu-Gi-Oh! Griezmann’s response was telling and made it seem like this was more than simple cash-for-PR. “Thinking back to my childhood makes me feel good,” he said. “I know that one day, I will be able to show my son what his dad used to watch when he was young, and I’m sure he is going to love it. It will be a kind of legacy.”
And wait until he finds out his dad has his own Yu-Gi-Oh! card.