France is booking a reward for my patience, says Olivier Giroud

Olivier Giroud believes his scoring record in France set a good example for young players as it was a reward for his resilience after a career of many ups and downs.

The 36-year-old Giroud surpassed Thierry Henry’s mark as he scored his 52nd goal in 117 appearances for Les Bleus in their 3-1 World Cup last-16 victory over Poland to become France’s all-time top goalscorer. It wasn’t easy for Giroud, who was rarely seen as a first choice for his country. He owes his place in the team in Qatar to the absence of Karim Benzema and will start again in the quarter-finals on Saturday when the defending champions take on England.

Giroud made his Ligue 1 debut with Montpellier at the age of 24 before winning his first international match for France a year later. Following last year’s European Championship exit in the last 16 against Switzerland, Giroud was left out by coach Didier Deschamps until March.

“This record reminds me of the years that have gone by, 11 years with France with many good memories and some not so good,” Giroud, answering questions in French, English and Italian, told a press conference on Tuesday.

“I think the most important thing is to set a good example for the young players, to show them that even if the path they are on is not a straight path, they can do it.

“I wasn’t playing at the highest level when I was 20, so if it can serve as an example that anything is possible, that’s great. It shows that you cannot get everything right away, as the young people now want, that resilience and patience are key.”

Giroud’s career seemed to be stagnating, but he joined AC Milan in 2021 and was rejuvenated.

“I had to find another challenge for myself. It was a great opportunity for me to play for the great Milan, I wanted to do everything right because I knew I still had some good years ahead of me,” said Giroud, who scored 23 goals in 57 appearances for the Rossoneri .

“I was very confident that I would do well and in my first year we won the Scudetto (Italian national title).”

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