AC Milan striker Olivier Giroud has revealed how delighted he was to join the Rossoneri over the summer, including a conversation with Andriy Shevchenko.
Giroud joined Milan from Chelsea during the summer transfer window having become a Champions League winner, the latest step in a decorated career which also includes having won the World Cup in 2018 with France.
He started life at Milan well by finding his scoring form in preseason and carrying that on into the first home game of the season netting a brace against Cagliari, but he has since suffered injury problems after recovering from Covid-19.
Giroud gave a long interview to the Daily Mail about a number of different topics, with his comments transcribed by MilanNews and translated below.
On his career: “Overcoming difficulties and doubts has been very important to me over the years. I always recover, I am like that. My friends and my brother used to say that I was always at my best when I was cornered. If 20 years old. I was told that I would win so many trophies and experience so many amazing things, I never imagined it. I feel very lucky.”
On a possible move to Tottenham in January 2020: “Well, there was a very small chance. I told Frank (Lampard) that I was so determined to leave and play. I told him I had Lazio, Inter Milan and, yes, Tottenham too. To be honest, it wouldn’t have been a good idea for me who was a Gooner for five and a half years to go to Tottenham, would it? this whole thing is part of what the players have to face.”
On the job as a football player: “People only see the positive aspects of this job, but you have to make sacrifices and deal with things that don’t go the right way. It’s important to always fight against this and dialogue is very important. With Lampard, I have I explained that I had to be happy again. I asked him to give me that opportunity in another team. I wanted him to understand me.
“I told him that you can’t play with the career of a footballer like that. He understood my emotions and I am. grateful that I stayed and things went well afterwards. In the end it gave me the chance to do great things again with Chelsea, I played again, I scored goals and helped us qualify for the Champions League.”
On Milan: “I have always admired this club and this fantastic shirt, so this could be a fantastic conclusion to my career in Europe. When you arrive at Milan you feel the weight of history. I have met my idol Shevchenko many times. I said he was my hero. He laughed, but I made him sign a shirt and I was so happy.”
On his future: “The job of a coach seems too stressful to me. I prefer to do something with the young people or be a sporting director. I talked to someone about all this. Helping young people or helping an academy to find good players. I have something to offer. Today young players have to deal with a different atmosphere around football.
“You have to be smart enough to protect yourself from criticism and problems caused by social media. Image has become important. You have to be careful what you say and do. You have to show humility. People will not accept bad things. You also have to have a good entourage around you.
“Things happen so fast in football that if you are not ready to handle compliments, you can get distracted at 20 or 21.It’s harder to be a great player these days because all these things around football make everything more difficult.”
On football: “It is important to leave a good mark on the pitch but also off. When I meet people on the street, they remember what I did for Arsenal and Chelsea and that touched me. This is the moment when you realise what you are doing in life.”