French striker Olivier Giroud, who recently became France’s all-time top scorer with 52 goals after scoring against Poland in the Round of 16, was given a flocked jersey with the number 52 as a reminder of his remarkable performance.
He was presented with the jersey in front of the entire French team and support staff who cheered their approval as Giroud accepted and wore the gift before saying a few words in French, a video shared by Equipe de France, the official Twitter handle of the French national team, showed.
The 36-year-old Giroud tied with Thierry Henry on 51 after scoring a double in the defending champions’ 4-1 victory over Australia in their opening Group D game. The AC Milan striker broke the record on his 117th appearance for France, while Henry scored 51 times from 123 caps between 1997 and 2010.
A party for the whole group 👏
𝗠𝗲𝗶𝗹𝗹𝗲𝘂𝗿 de l’histoire des Bleus, @_OlivierGiroud_ a receipt un maillot floqué 5️⃣2️⃣, comme le nombre de buts inscrits depuis novembre 2011 (117 sélections 🇫🇷) !#FiersdetreBleus pic.twitter.com/GXl9rjczlL
— Equipe de France ⭐⭐ (@equipedefrance) December 7, 2022
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.
“This record reminds me of the years that have passed, 11 years with France with many good memories and some not so good,” Giroud 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 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.