It’s safe to say that Olivier Giroud was at the front of the queue when life’s winning lottery tickets were handed out.
The most accessible of his myriad of qualities is undoubtedly his looks. Even your footballing-challenged relatives will put down their book when Giroud is on the television.
Seriously. The guy was chiselled rather than born, with an immaculate beard and hair that thousands travel to Turkey in the forlorn hope of replicating.
Scratch beneath the immaculate surface and Giroud has also nailed it career-wise. A grafter rather than naturally gifted, the striker has played for a string of European giants and is France’s record goalscorer. He’s a world champion too.
At the age of 37, when many of his contemporaries have already hung up their boots and weighed up whether to pursue coaching or punditry, Giroud remains crucial to the AC Milan attack.
At the time of writing, the former Arsenal and Chelsea striker has only failed to score in one of his last seven appearances for club and country.
With eight goals and four assists, only Internazionale’s Lautaro Martinez has been directly involved in more Serie A goals than the wizened Frenchman this season.
And, on a mild afternoon in Lombardy, Giroud produced an assist cuter than a newborn puppy falling asleep under a freshly bought blanket.
Milan were already 2-0 up against local rivals Monza when Tijjani Reijnders hurdled a defender and continued his remorseless path towards goal. Three white-shirted opponents were drawn in his direction like moths into Tesco stuffing.
Showing all the daintiness of a Victorian bachelorette in summer season, Rijiners dinked a ball into Giroud’s gravitational space.
Having made a career out of facilitating other’s glory, the 37-year-old wasn’t about to change that habit. Without breaking stride, he effortlessly flicked the ball directly to the feet of Noah Okafor.
This gorgeous piece of play deserved a goal and Okafor wasn’t about to commit a crime against sensibility. Three nil. Game over. The Milanese crowd had permission to swoon over Giroud for the remainder of the match.
A wonderful team move sees AC Milan 3-0 up! 🔥
Just check out that effortless assist from Olivier Giroud! 💫 pic.twitter.com/64QglP23dY
— Football on TNT Sports (@footballontnt) December 17, 2023
Speaking to the French outlet TeleFoot, Giroud admitted next summer’s European Championship in Germany will ‘probably’ be his last in international football.
“I’m not planning beyond the short-term,” he said. ‘The most important thing is to be fit and competitive, these Euros are an objective. We nearly got it in 2016, and it is a trophy that I would love to win with France.
“It will maybe, probably, be my last competition, but I can’t tell you what will happen after.”
Despite his age and the form of Randal Kolo Muani, it’s clear that Giroud will start the tournament as France’s main striker. Nobody brings the best out of Kylian Mbappe quite like him.
And with his success at club level this season, it’s also clear that Giroud will be in the side on merit rather than solely for his past contributions.
Yes, Giroud snaffled the winning ticket in life’s lottery. But, with sexy assists like his one-touch jaw-dropper against Monza, it’s hard to conjure any resentment against him.
By Michael Lee