« In Italy, we define Giroud as the champion, the man of the big nights »

En replacing Karim Benzema, out of injury, Olivier Giroud ended up returning to the France team. After the missed Euro of the Blues, the 35-year-old striker had missed the following international meetings, and the coach Didier Deschamps had not really been able to explain his choice. The quarrel with Kylian Mbappé before the competition, about their relationship on the ground, was undoubtedly an unofficial reason. Since then, in the shadow of the selection, Olivier Giroud has been able to bounce back on the side of Italy, where he quickly knew how to find his marks and become essential to AC Milan, with 11 goals in all competitions this season. And here he is again finally summoned to face Ivory Coast and South Africa, during two friendly matches.

Journalist specializing in Italian football for Eurosport, Guillaume Maillard-Pacini tells for Point how the former Montpellier striker revived in Lombardy. “It’s the story of love at first sight at all levels because, from the day Giroud arrived at the club, everyone was in awe of the player and his personality. The supporters, the leaders and the locker room were amazed by him, and that is rare in Milan. “After having had the heyday of Arsenal and Chelsea, Giroud therefore set out to conquer Serie A. A championship where old attackers like him are far from being second knives, like his teammate Zlatan Ibrahimovic, still amazing at 40.

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In a team that is still biding its time, far from the golden years of the Silvio Berlusconi era, Olivier Giroud has the ideal profile of an experienced player who knows how to pull a group up without pulling the cover all by himself. “He won so many trophies during his career, recalls Guillaume Maillard-Pacini. But seeing him still wanting to win in a club under reconstruction and in such a young locker room is impressive. He had a few injuries that put a stop to it, but Ibrahimovic was able to take over. Since he replays at 100%, even when he does not score, he is precious. »

As often with Giroud, his goals have a significant impact, especially for a team aiming for the scudetto (the title of Italian champion), and, in Lombardy, he was definitively adopted. “His achievements are very important in the title race, against Napoli and especially with the double against Inter in the derby. Fifteen minutes from the end, it was 1-0 in favor of the rival and Giroud overturned everything. This performance will undoubtedly count in the final sprint. In Italy, he is defined as the champion, the man of the big nights. He’s not someone who will get the crowds going with his technical moves, but he’s a decisive player and a world champion, that’s what this team lacked. His experience at a very high level is capital and will be until the end. »

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It remains to be seen what role he will now have in the selection. Having become a substitute with the resounding return of Karim Benzema, the native of Chambéry has no intention of having an ego crisis during his playing time with the Blues. “The France team is a gift, it’s a bonus. It is not okay to refuse a selection. If the coach calls me, I will answer present as I have always done, that’s why I never said that I would stop the France team. It’s not something I will do, « said the striker at the microphone of Europe 1 this week.

For his part, in a press conference, Didier Deschamps did not fail in his reputation by kicking in touch to evoke the return of Giroud. “The French team performed well with and without him. He is a player who remained selectable, he is one of the 23 for these matches. Don’t ask me about the future. I’m not going to pay particular attention to Olivier more than to the others. A way to maintain the suspense a few months before the Qatari deadline, with the World Cup in sight. Will Giroud the phoenix reinvent himself again? Once again, the ground will deliver its truth.

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