Merci Olivier: Giroud’s top 9 Milan moments including heroic saves and Scudetto goals

By Oliver Fisher -

It had been reported for weeks, but today it was finally announced by Olivier Giroud himself that he will be leaving AC Milan at the end of the season.

Giroud arrived from Chelsea in the summer of 2021 and was originally meant to be a deputy to Zlatan Ibrahimovic, but his 130 appearances, 48 ​​goals and 19 assists show just how much he has contributed since joining.

The Frenchman provided big goals and a lot of experience which certainly played a part in the resurgence of the last couple of seasons, which culminated in the 2021-22 Scudetto and the Champions League semi-final last season.

After three years of emotions, the paths of Milan and Giroud will part ways at the end of this season and he will make the move to Los Angeles FC.

The striker gave an emotional interview to Milan TV to announce the news, while Stefano Pioli and his team-mates all sent their own goodbye messages.

Giroud will get his big farewell in front of the San Siro crowd in just under a couple of weeks during the game against Salernitana, but we wanted to take a look back at nine of the No.9’s most memorable moments with the Rossoneri while hoping he adds a couple more yet.

Clutch in the capital

For many, the dramatic 2-1 win over Lazio towards the end of the 2021-22 season is what made them believe the title was possible. Having trailed early a comeback effort was needed, and it was one that Giroud sparked.

Of course the sight of Tonali netting the late winner and running towards the away fans sticks out, but we have to mention Giroud scoring that equaliser from deep inside the box with a very Giroud-esque finish. The goal came at a vital time, and it became a springboard.

 

Maradona madness

After a very scrappy first half between the two title rivals Napoli and Milan at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona, it became apparent that it was going to need an intervention from a big-name player.

That goal came four minutes after the break and it was yet another instinctive finish from Giroud as he poked out a leg to divert a scuffed attempt into the bottom corner. It was a monumental goal and an even bigger result in the eventual title win.

S’è girato Giroud

For many, that brace against Inter in February 2022 will be what cements his legacy as a cult hero at Milan. Pioli’s side had been outplayed in the first half and trailed at the break, thus they needed a borderline miraculous comeback to keep their Scudetto hopes alive.

Giroud levelled it at the perfect time with a finish not too dissimilar to the Napoli goal above, and than that move to spin De Vrij and fire into the bottom corner underneath the Curva Sud became perhaps the most iconic moment from a season that ended with glory. Goosebumps.

 

Scudetto sealing goals

The crowning moment of that league title season ended up being in the final round, with Milan and Inter both in the race. The Rossoneri needed to win at the Mapei Stadium – which was three-quarters red and black – against Sassuolo to clinch their 19th Scudetto.

Given it has been an unhappy hunting ground in the past there were some pre-match nerves, but Giroud’s quickfire brace settled them and sparked jubilant scenes. Rafael Leao did most of the work for both goals but the finishes were still needed, and therefore the Frenchman holds the title of being the man who scored the goals that earned the trophy.

Sealing the semis

The run to the semi-finals of the Champions League last season also had Giroud’s signature firmly on it. In addition to goals in the group stage, he actually bagged the one that ended up booking Milan’s place in the final four.

Once again he had a beautiful assist from his left-hand man Leao, though again he was on hand to finish – after missing an earlier penalty – and make it 2-0 on aggregate against Napoli at the Maradona. It totally dampened the atmosphere, which was a big factor, and rendered Osimhen’s late goal a consolation.

Genoa goalkeeping

Looking at Giroud’s stat line, in addition to the goals, assists and the trophy, there is also technically a clean sheet to his name. A crazy last 10 minutes against Genoa earlier this season saw Mike Maignan sent off and the Milan players look around in confusion and then the realisation that an outfield player had to don the gloves.

In the 105th minute – after 15 minutes of injury time due to all this chaos was granted – the 37-year-old made a wonder save with Puscas charging forward to equalise. He rushed off his line and threw a fist at the ball which was enough to keep the ball out of reach for any Genovese player. It was such an immortalised moment, the club even sold Giroud goalkeeper shirts.

Scudetto celebrations

Sticking with the non-goal theme, we wanted to pick out something that showed – in addition to his many important on-field moments – just how much he cared about Milan and loved representing the club.

Seeing Giroud leading chants on the bus, lighting flares, dancing with the trophy after the Scudetto win and during the parade made it clear that when he said he had been a Milan fan since he was a child he wasn’t lying. It was pure, unfiltered joy and that will stick in our memories.

PSG winner

There weren’t as many memorable nights this season in what was a relatively disappointing campaign, but one of them came towards the end of last year in the 2-1 Champions League group stage win over PSG.

Leao’s equaliser set up the second half perfectly, and an absolute bullet of a header from Giroud – one so typical of a traditional centre-forward like him – sent a sold out San Siro into raptures. It kept the hopes of getting out of the group alive, and for that moment that’s all that mattered.

Juventus winner

From one Champions League related header to another, we end the list with the winner against Juventus at the Allianz Stadium last season, this time to formally book a spot in the 2023-24 edition of Europe’s top competition.

Milan have never won regularly in Turin and in this scrappy encounter they looked like potentially being denied again until the 40th minute. A pinpoint cross from Calabria was met by perhaps the best header of Giroud’s entire career, which in turn sealed a massive three points against a big rival.

Tags AC Milan Olivier Giroud

10 Comments

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  1. Thanks for the memories especially those goals in the crucial win over Inter.

    Another huge loss this summer who it seems will be leaving along with Pioli and Kjaer + maybe that big sale.

    It was always going to come to an end but the timing with the others is unfortunate.

    I’d prefer to keep one of the leaders or else it’s just more upheaval. Giroud could’ve provided a back up option and mentoring behind a new CF.

    The Scudetto winning side should’ve been the start of a dynasty. Instead we’ve nearly dismantled it in a few seasons.

    Very sad.

    1. I love how you assume Giroud wanted to stay but wasn’t offered a new deal, or something along those lines, not Giroud wanting to have a new experience.

  2. Giroud had a lot of memorable moments in his short time with us. Everything on the list is great. An honorable mention for me would be the defensive effort he put in the first game against Tottenham. That was a big win for a young squad and I believe his experience and sacrifice played a big role.

  3. I don’t think the club had much choice in a lot of the departures.
    Giroud is 37 and has chosen one final experience in MLS. I think he in himself knows he’s now too slow for serie a. I think the club would have offered him one more year.
    Ibrahimovic needed to retire.
    Kessie and Romagnoli chose to not renew and leave.
    Brahim Diaz was owned by Real and eventually recalled.
    Krunic got a better offer from Turkey and asked to traded.

    Others that have left was one unfortunate sale in Tonali.
    Kjaer is now too old and past Milan level. He needs to move on.
    The rest I’d argue have generally been replaced with upgraded version.
    Bakayoko clearly didn’t get on with Pioli and needed to move on.
    Balo-Toure seemed stuck behind Theo and not progressing.
    Right side has got a massive upgrade.
    Messias was and old player that was a cheap short term fix.
    Saelemaekers is one that I believe we could have kept as a squad player. But I suspect the club argues he has been upgraded.
    That mostly leaves the other forwards we have upgraded on.
    Rebic
    Lazetic
    Maldini
    Roebuck
    Castillejo

  4. Such great moments though. He’s had an action packed 3 years.

    For pure drama. It’s hard to go past the storage time goal keeping.

    From an impact in a single big match. The 1:2 comeback in the scudetto derby.

    Who knew we needed to savour that derby win so much. 😞

  5. Love the guy, probably the most underrated striker of the last 15 years. I’d have loved to have signed him when he was at Arsenal. One if the few strikers who makes other players game and the team better.

    All the best Oli G

  6. If it wasn’t for Giroud we woudn’t have won the scudeto. Great signing from Maldini. Solid player and very underated for everything that he has done thru his career.

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