Giroud: God wanted me to play for Milan

By Sports Desk August 02, 2021

Olivier Giroud is excited to start a new chapter in his career in Serie A and says "God wanted me to play for Milan".

The 34-year-old joined the Rossoneri in a reported €2million (£1.7m) deal on July 17, bringing an end to his nine-year stay in the Premier League with Arsenal and more recently Chelsea.

Giroud is looking forward to adding to his trophy collection during his time in Italy having won Ligue 1 with Montpellier before lifting the FA Cup four times tasting glory in the Champions League and Europa League during his time in England.

"I won many trophies at every club I've been at and would like to do the same here," he said at his official unveiling on Monday. 

"I do have an objective in my mind during my time here, but I don't want to reveal it, otherwise there will be too much pressure. Let's just say my final objective is to win with Milan."

Giroud is thought to have signed a two-year deal with Milan and is following in the steps of legendary figures such as Gunnar Nordahl, Filippo Inzaghi and Andriy Shevchenko.

And the France international leaned on one of those iconic figures before putting pen to paper with the Italian giants.

"The time had come to leave Chelsea and discover a new league. God wanted me to play for Milan," he said. 

"This is one of the biggest clubs in the world and I really believe in the project here. We've got what it takes to have a very good Champions League campaign.

"When I was young, I watched Milan games with Shevchenko and he later became a dear friend who I asked for advice.

"It's an honour for me to be at a club where so many great stars have played and it was emotional talking to [director] Paolo Maldini, too.

"I want to give my contribution, be a big brother to the players and bring my experience. I hope also to be remembered as a good person and not just a great player."

 

Giroud found starts hard to come by at Chelsea following Thomas Tuchel's arrival in late January, though he did make his mark felt in his final campaign at Stamford Bridge.

The World Cup winner netted five times in Chelsea's Champions League-winning campaign, four of those goals coming in the Blues' 4-0 victory at Sevilla in the group stage.

That made him the oldest player (34 years, 63 days) to score a hat-trick in the Champions League/European Cup since Ferenc Puskas (38y, 173d) for Real Madrid in 1965.

He arrives at Milan as a European champion and has inherited the number nine shirt, which is one of the most iconic jerseys in football but has more recently become a poisoned chalice of sorts.

Mario Mandzukic, Krzysztof Piatek and Gonzalo Higuain have all failed to live up to its reputation in recent years, yet Giroud is unfazed by the weight of expectation.

"I am not superstitious. A shirt number cannot change the way I play," he said.

"Strikers like Inzaghi, Marco van Basten and Jean-Pierre Papin wore this shirt for Milan, but I don't feel the pressure."

Giroud will link up with another Milan great this coming season in Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who has 25 goals in 37 Serie A appearances since returning to San Siro in January 2020.

Grenoble product Giroud will turn 35 next month but is inspired by 39-year-old Ibrahimovic to continue playing at the top for as long as possible.

"My age means nothing," he said. "Zlatan is a few years older than me, but it's all about your mentality. With the right motivation, you can still push hard."

Giroud scored with his first touch as a Milan player in Saturday's 1-1 draw with Nice. Stefano Pioli's men face Valencia in their next pre-season outing on Wednesday.

Related items

  • Saelemaekers delighted to continue Milan journey after penning new deal Saelemaekers delighted to continue Milan journey after penning new deal

    Alexis Saelemaekers is delighted to have pledged his long-term future to Milan, after penning a five-year contract with the Rossoneri.

    Saelemaerkers joined Milan from Anderlecht, initially on loan, in January 2020.

    Since then, he has made 52 appearances in Serie A, starting 38 times and helping Milan to 35 victories (only Franck Kessie, Theo Hernandez and Gianluigi Donnarumma have been involved in more league wins in that timeframe).

    He has created 44 chances, providing six league assists and scoring three goals.

    That form has seen him rewarded with a new deal, tying him to the San Siro until June 2026.

    "I'm happy to have grown with this team," Belgium international Saelemaekers told Milan's official website, before expanding on his official Instagram account.

    "Salamandra remains! I'm delighted to continue my story with this great club that has welcomed me and made me feel important immediately," a post read.

    "It's a wonderful emotion that I want to share with all the people who have accompanied me on this journey and in particular with all the Milan fans who are special.

    "I'm proud of my growth which has gone hand in hand with the team. Now, the target is always the same: work, grow and win!

    "Forza Milan God is Great!"

  • I arrived as a kid and left as a man – Vieira looking forward to Arsenal return but targets glory with Palace I arrived as a kid and left as a man – Vieira looking forward to Arsenal return but targets glory with Palace

    Patrick Vieira is anticipating an emotional reunion with Arsenal, but the Crystal Palace manager is out to beat his former club.

    Vieira spent nine years with Arsenal between 1996 and 2005, helping Arsene Wenger's side win three Premier League titles and four FA Cups before he left for Juventus.

    The 45-year-old made 279 Premier League appearances for Arsenal, with only five players making more for the club in the competition. In fact, Vieira will be just the fourth person to have played for the Gunners in the Premier League and then managed against them in the competition, after David O'Leary (W3 D2 L9), Tony Adams (L1) and Remi Garde (L1).

    He has never faced the Gunners as a coach, though did play against them twice, with Juve and Manchester City, but did not manage to win on either occasion.

    Vieira is out to change that record when Palace, who came from behind in impressive fashion to draw 2-2 with Leicester City before the international break, visit Emirates Stadium on Monday.

    "The focus and concentration will be on how can we perform well," said Vieira, who was just 20 when he joined Arsenal from Milan.

    "I am really looking forward to it. I had the chance to play for this football club [Arsenal] for nine years. I arrived at this football club when I was a kid and I left as a man.

    "That is the club where I played my best football I would say. So obviously going back there will be emotional, but I will put that on the side because it will be important for us to perform well and to get points.

    "It's about controlling yourself as a manager and controlling the emotion. I always try to do that and will try to do that again on Monday."

    Recent history of Palace's trips to Emirates Stadium would suggest Vieira has a good chance of breaking his duck against Arsenal, with the Eagles unbeaten in their last three such games (W1 D2).

    However, Arsenal have won their last seven league matches played on Monday, scoring 15 times and conceding just twice.

    Palace ended an 11-game winless run in Premier League London derbies when they beat Tottenham 3-0 last month, though Arsenal have won four of their last five top-flight home matches.

  • Paris Saint-Germain 2-1 Angers: Mbappe spot on to snatch victory for Pochettino Paris Saint-Germain 2-1 Angers: Mbappe spot on to snatch victory for Pochettino

    A late penalty from Kylian Mbappe saw Paris Saint-Germain come from a goal down and beat Angers 2-1 at Parc des Princes on Friday.

    Danilo Pereira's header after 69 minutes – their first shot on target of the contest – cancelled out a deserved opening goal from Angelo Fulgini, but it looked likely that would be all PSG would muster against a side who have not beaten the capital club in 22 league meetings.

    That was until the 87th minute, when Mbappe swept home from the spot after a VAR check for handball against Pierrick Capelle.

    Sofiane Boufal saw a half-volley saved by Gianluigi Donnarumma as Angers carried by far the greater first-half threat despite having just 28 per cent of the ball.

    Another mazy run from Boufal had PSG worried, but they did not learn their lesson, and it was the former Southampton man's expert cross from the right that gave Fulgini an easy finish for the opening goal.

    PSG's laboured performance continued after the break as they struggled badly to get Mauro Icardi involved, with Mbappe too often guilty of trying to pick his way through the Angers defence singlehandedly.

    It was a more simple approach from Mbappe, a lofted left-footed cross from the right, that allowed Danilo to ghost in and nod home the equaliser.

    Icardi at last had a sight of goal, and it proved decisive, his header from point-blank range striking the arm of Capelle and leading to a penalty after a VAR review.

    Mbappe stepped up and slid the ball confidently to Paul Bernardoni's left, ending his four-game goal drought in the top flight.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.