Atletico Madrid star Antoine Griezmann has lavished praise on Paul Pogba, amid reports claimingManchester United want to reunite the French duo at Old Trafford. The former Real Sociedad forward also revealed that he wears long sleeves because his "idol" David Beckham did the same during his playing days.
Griezmann, 25, has been tipped as one of the main candidates for the Ballon d'Or in the post-Messi-and-Ronaldo world. The Frenchman scored 32 goals in 54 appearances for Atletico Madrid and led France to the final of Euro 2016.
He was linked with a big-money move to the likes of Manchester United, Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain and even Real Madrid before eventually signing a new long-term deal at Atletico, setting his release clause at€100m (£86.8m, $112m).
However, The Mirror recently claimed Jose Mourinho had earmarked the player to be his marquee signing ahead of the 2017-2018 campaign, following this summer's arrival of Pogba – while The Telegraph later added that Chelsea boss Antonio Conte is also interested.
Griezmann has suggested that any suitor will have to wait for such a move as he plans to stay at the Calderon for the long term. However, United look to have an advantage in any future battle due to the player's strong relationship with Pogba – and his idolisation of Beckham.
Griezmann and Pogba were singled out in France following the disappointing opening win of the Euros against Romania, before developing into key figures for Didier Deschamps throughout the rest of the campaign.
Griezmann has now revealed that the criticism helped strengthen his relationship with the United star.
"Pogba and I have been brought closer thanks to the French press," Griezmann said during a long interview with Onda Cero. "Before the game against Romania we were the two aces that were going to win everything and after that they said that were the worse ones and that we had to be dropped from the starting line-up. That criticism made us friends."
"I love his personality. He dances, laughs, he provided a very good atmosphere into the dressing room and on the pitch he is very good. Many people said that he started badly at Manchester United because he was not scoring goals. People think he is going to shoot from 50 meters and score an impressive strike... But he works very hard for the team and with the ball he is a genius."
The Frenchman also revealed that Beckham remains his idol.
"I always play with long sleeves because Beckham always did it. He is my idol. He had a lot of class both on the pitch and outside. Nobody had his right foot. I would love to speak with him, but in Spanish because I don't speak English."