Olivier Giroud has professed his love for the AC Milan fans, while also shedding some light on the red card he got against Lecce in the last league game for losing his temper.
Giroud is away on international duty with France and he netted a brace on Saturday as Les Bleus beat Gibraltar 14-0, extending his tally to 56 goals for his country and continuing his excellent start to the season.
The striker gave an interview to the French portal Le JDD and his comments were transcribed by Radio Rossonera. In addition to speaking about his renewal, Giroud spoke about what it meant to join the club and what he might do when the time to retire arrives.
“Today I would like to stay at Milan. I am at the end of my contract and I have not yet discussed anything with the club, unlike what was reported in the media,” he said.
“I want to continue, and I believe I have what it takes to play here. I was already a fan of the great Milan of the 2000s. For me, joining them was a gift: what I achieved during my career far surpasses my childhood dream. I have no regrets. I would do the same thing again.
“I am not eternal. As long as my body allows me, I want to push myself to the limit and I don’t set myself any. I want to reach the top. I love football and I’m not ready to stop yet. And anyway, I still have a lot to say, right?
“I don’t know how I see myself in the future, I’ve already been asked several times in the past. Football is a world where you have to have a certain status and it’s my passion… so yes, I think I’ll stay in the world of football in the future.
“I don’t believe in being a coach, at the moment I don’t have the desire to become one and I don’t know if I will have the necessary energy in the future, it’s a job that requires a lot.
“I would like the position of sporting director because it would have to deal with different situations in the club: the choice of players, the relationship with the first team, what in the youth sector… But what I say today can change tomorrow.”
Giroud was asked about the possibility of winning the Champions League with Milan before he retires, something which would of course require ticking off the initial target of reaching the knockout rounds.
“Italian football fans, especially the fans of the two Milanese teams, have a special history with this competition, Milan have won it seven times.
“On European evenings you can feel something magical happening at San Siro. Last year we reached the semi-finals, this year we hope to get as far as possible, but it is very difficult, there is a lot of competition.”
Having grown up as a fan of the club, the former Arsenal and Chelsea man still gets a buzz from playing at San Siro in front of the Milan fans every week, and admitted it sometimes fuels him a bit too much.
“I’ve never seen anything like it. The Italian supporters are incredible. There is a real fervor, passion, love for the club, its colors… For my part, I try to remain simple, natural. No one is perfect, in fact, we all make mistakes along the way.
“It happened to me too, in Lecce I got a second yellow card after a wrong reaction. Even though I didn’t insult the referee, there are always moments when you have to hold back, this clearly shows that I am a human being like the others.
“But it’s true that we must try to be an example as footballers, and it’s nice to be recognised in this by many French fans too.”
Giroud’s exploits during the 1-0 victory against Genoa last month went viral as he took Mike Maignan’s place in goal after his red card, making a superb last-ditch save right at the death to seal the win.
“Despite everything I experienced in my career it was something unique. I had never been in that situation before, the feeling was different from the one I experience when I score a goal. It was just as exhilarating, but there was a lot more pride, a lot more adrenaline. My heart was pounding.
“The joy of having saved the team, with that somewhat kamikaze lunge, made me happy for the group. And then, of course, people started singing that I had saved it… There were two of us ready, Christian Pulisic, who scored the goal, and me.
“But he is 1.75 meters tall… Christian said he wanted to get in the goal, I don’t want to say that he wouldn’t have done well, but I took up more space. It’s true that it’s better to put someone tall. The staff told me to wear gloves and Christian didn’t make me worry about it.
“I felt small, very small in the goal at the moment of the free kick. You feel vulnerable… and even the gloves were too big, Mike has bigger hands than mine! The following days they made me a picture with the photo, the match plate and the date.
“It’s beautiful, it will remain a memory forever. When I was seven or eight I worked as a goalkeeper with friends, but it was just for fun. It was something I liked, even though I prefer scoring goals. I had never worn gloves in an official match.”
Giroud also spoke about the players that he looked up to as a child and what it means to be the all-time scorer in the history of the French national team.
“When I started following the national team in 1998, Zidane made everyone dream: he was our hero. Then, growing up, there was the French generation at Arsenal: at that time I was really attracted to the Premier League and what Arsène Wenger was achieving with the London team.
“Even though Henry was there, the one who inspired me the most was Andriy Shevchenko. He was a striker who could do everything and score with his right, left and head. He was very thorough.
“I was also inspired by Jean-Pierre Papin because I like volleys, overhead kicks, acrobatics, and he was one of those who mastered those plays best. And what’s more he was French, and he had played for Marseille and Milan.
“I’m sure Grizi (Griezmann) and Kylian (Mbappé) are pushing to overtake me… So we have to keep pushing. Maybe I should take the penalties? I think that since the World Cup final it has been complicated to negotiate with Kylian. Yet I love it.
“I think out of about thirty since 2012 I’ve gotten two wrong. It’s a rather small percentage… The dream is to win Euro 2024, I don’t project beyond that. My goal is to have a great season with Milan and win the second star, which would mean the 20th Scudetto for Milan.
“It won’t be easy, but we believe it. Make a good impression in the Champions League, win the European Championship with France and then we will evaluate the situation.”