Giroud eyeing World Cup swansong after Milan's Scudetto triumph

By Sports Desk May 28, 2022

Olivier Giroud says he still harbours hopes of featuring for France at the World Cup later this year, having contributed to Milan's extraordinary Serie A title win in his first season in Italy.

Giroud has been left out of Didier Deschamps' squad for France's four UEFA Nations League fixtures next month, with the World Cup holders' schedule including a double-header against 2018 final foes Croatia.

But the striker, who appeared in all seven matches during France's second triumphant World Cup campaign in Russia, has impressed since joining Milan at the start of the season, joining Rafael Leao (both 11) as the Rossoneri's highest league goalscorers as Stefano Pioli's men won their first league title since 2010-11.

Giroud and has 112 caps for France and is just three goals away from equalling Thierry Henry's record of 51 goals for Les Blues, but will be 36 years old by the time his country begin their World Cup campaign on November 22.

But the former Arsenal and Chelsea striker admits he is keen on making a final appearance at world football's showpiece competition, although he is currently focused on celebrating a successful club campaign.

"It would be a lie to say that I don't want to play a third World Cup, certainly my last competition," Giroud told Europe1 Sport.

"At that point I will be 36 years old. And if I am still competitive with my club, yes, I hope to continue helping France. 

"There are still many months to go. Until then, I'll take advantage of my holidays and savour this title with my club. Then we'll see what happens."

While Giroud has World Cup, Champions League and Europa League winner's medals, his Serie A triumph represented just the second league title win of his career, and his first since winning Ligue 1 with Montpellier in 2011-12.

Having held off the challenge of rivals Inter to move level with the Nerazzurri's tally of 19 league titles, Giroud says the current Rossoneri squad have earned a place in the storied history of Milan.

"There have been great players who have passed from Milan," he added. "But it is a source of pride to have contributed to the construction of this Scudetto, eleven years later with experienced players like [Zlatan] Ibrahimovic, it is fantastic. 

"We had a great season, we were rewarded for all our efforts and yes, we are entering the history of Milan. We are still a long way from the big names in Milan, but it's nice to be associated with all these great players."

Referring to the side's incredible celebrations, Giroud added: "I think you really realise the impact it has had in Milan and Italy on the open bus, seeing these hundreds of thousands of Milanese fans who have been waiting for a while. 

"We are all very proud to bring Milan back to the top. It was a tough fight to the end, and you realise you are joining a very big club when you see all this passion around you and the class that reigns in this historic club. 

"Not everything was written when we arrived this year. The goal was to qualify for the Champions League, to get back on top of the table. The goal, initially, was not to win the Scudetto. 

"Being at Milan and fully participating in this beautiful story is incredible. It was another challenge that I needed and in addition, it led to a Scudetto. I could not have dreamed of better."

Meanwhile, Milan's successful title tilt was aided by several French players, including goalkeeper Mike Maignan and defenders Pierre Kalulu and Theo Hernandez, as well as a number of other French speakers.

And Giroud says it has been a great source of pride to contribute to the success of a side with a significant French influence.

"The Milanese dressing room has a strong French accent, so to speak, with all the French," he said. "There are also other players who speak French, like Franck Kessie, Ismael Bennacer, [Fode] Ballo-Toure. There are other French players, like [Tiemoue] Bakayoko. 

"We speak French, so it is true that there really is this slightly French team, as there was at Arsenal at the time. We are fortunate to have spent most of the season with four Frenchmen in this team and it is a pride."

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