Giroud lifts lid on working with Pioli, Maldini and why Milan are the ‘icing on the cake’

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan striker Olivier Giroud has once again revealed how he snubbed Inter before joining the Rossoneri, praising Paolo Maldini and Ricky Massara.

Giroud was interviewed by the French newspaper L’Equipe and he spoke about a number of different topics, starting with the background on his move to Milan and why it is the ‘icing on the cake’ of his illustrious career.

“I was close to signing with Inter, but God did things well. I had to wait a while, but I’m patient and have won the Champions League in the meantime,” he said (via RadioRossonera).

“I spent many years in the Premier League, which has been the best league for over a decade. When I talked to my agent, I didn’t see myself in Spain or Germany. A return to France was not my priority, Milan became the icing on the cake.”

Paolo Maldini played a key role in the arrival of the Frenchman as he does every player who arrives at the club, and Giroud was full of praise for the way he is always present.

“Paolo Maldini is an ultra-present leader, he is there every day at training. He is an institution, he leaves nothing to chance. If he is good in training and competitive, the technical director sees it. And for me it’s an excellent thing, because I train as if I had to play, always at 100%.”

It has been well documented that Giroud has Italian in his blood, as he is fluent in the language and has a passion for various aspects of Italian life such as the food and the culture.

“I didn’t invent anything. Giroud obviously doesn’t sound Italian, but my two grandmothers were. Yvonne Avogadro, my father’s mother, is from Bergamo. Antonia, my mother’s mother comes from a small northeastern village,” he said.

Giroud has been getting a lot of starts in recent weeks, partly due to Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s injury problems but also because he enjoys the full faith of head coach Stefano Pioli, whom he works well with.

“I didn’t know him very well, but from our first phone call I knew he would be up to it. He makes the team work well tactically and he knows how to bring out the best in his players. The way he talks to us couldn’t be clearer,” Giroud added.

“He is a real person: when he speaks, what he says comes from his heart, from the depths of himself. Something about him reminds me of the determination that René Girard gave us in Montpellier. I’ve always liked emotional coaches.”

On not scoring a goal in the Champions League: “I was at 70%. I can’t wait to get back to playing in the Champions League next season.”

Finally, on his target for the season: “The goal was to qualify again in the Champions League. But we are Milan, with the positive results it changed quickly in my head, the goal then became the Scudetto.”

Tags AC Milan Olivier Giroud Paolo Maldini Stefano Pioli
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