AC Milan striker Olivier Giroud has revealed that the game against Sassuolo on Sunday felt like a home fixture due to the sheer number of travelling fans.
It was a very memorable evening in the club’s history as the Rossoneri swept Sassuolo aside by a scoreline of 3-0 to clinch a 19th Scudetto, and Giroud’s double in the first half set the tone before Franck Kessie put the issue to bed before the interval.
Giroud was interviewed by L’Equipe after winning the league title, which is yet another major honour in his decorated career, with his comments relayed by MilanNews.
On the Scudetto: “They reflected the expectations of the clubs and the fans. Everything has been exceptional since the end of the match against Sassuolo! There were over 18,000 Rossoneri fans. We played at home. The Milan fans had been waiting for this trophy for eleven years.”
On the celebrations: “We had a big party in the dressing room. We all smoked cigars, but only Ibra went out with a cigar during the award ceremony. Only he could do it. He was as happy as for his first title, you could see it. He also had a speech for everyone in the locker room first and in the bus that he brought us back to Milan later.
“We had a party with 30 thousand fans at Casa Milan. The next day we walked on the double-decker bus for four hours, until we reached the Duomo in front of tens of thousands of people. Berlusconi was also there. Many fans had tears in their eyes.”
One of the turning points of the season came in February when Milan were trailing 1-0 against Inter with less than 20 minutes left on the clock but roared back to win thanks to a double for Giroud, who then became known as the man for the big occasions.
“The ending with Inter was incredible. We played a final every weekend for weeks. We were in total apnea! How much challenge magnifies this title even more. We leave Inter behind, our rivals,” he added.
Giroud ended the season tied with Leao for the most league goals (11), but he was keen to stress how much of a group effort it was.
“I wanted to finish well, especially since I was coming from a period in which I had scored less. This title is the success of a group that has never given up and has been united, we have always been united! From Leao, crowned best player of the season, to Mike in goal, passing through Sandro, Pierre, who had an excellent second half of the season. Theo was also phenomenal on the left. This title has a nice French accent.”
On the start of the season: “I had a hard time in the early autumn with Covid, then I had back pain. But I gritted my teeth. I was decisive in key matches such as with the brace in the derby, with the goal in Naples or the goal against Lazio. The season ended with this brace against Sassuolo. I finish with fourteen goals of the season and four assists.”
The Frenchman is not the only veteran striker in the team who knows what it takes to win, as Zlatan Ibrahimovic was his team-mate in the attacking department.
“This title and my season confirm my choice. In the head of the coach I have never been a substitute for Zlatan; rotation was always balanced when both of us were available. Ibra finished with eight league goals and still plays at the age of 40. And I, at 35; I have shown that I can play more,” he said.
On Pioli: “He is the first person I spoke to upon my arrival. She convinced me in two minutes. It was a beautiful meeting. He is the creator of this title, he put a lot of energy into it. He reminds me a little of Rene Girard for the determination he puts into it, he trains with the heart.”
Finally, on if the failure to get a France call-up bothered him: “Not at all, it didn’t bother me. I had only one goal: to aim for the title with Milan. I take everything with detachment and serenity. There is some disappointment, but no bitterness. I know I still have great things to do, first with Milan, then with France if I come back.”