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Serie A – AC Milan – Empoli: How Olivier Giroud put Italy at his feet

Oliver, how are you?“Certainly impressed to face one of his idols at Milanello, this young AC Milan tifoso, who was eagerly awaiting the player’s car on Wednesday, did not however lose the north. Faced with the hero of the match in Naples, a certain Olivier Giroud, author of the only winning goal (0-1) last Sunday at the Stadio Diego Maradona, he especially wanted to know how the French striker was doing.Between a gash in the leg caused by a shock with Kalidou Koulibaly in the first half and a sprained ankle in the second, the world champion came out somewhat battered by the shock of the two leaders.

But I’m fine“, he however assured his young supporter all smiles, just after showing him an image of his injury. Before adding in an Italian now perfectly mastered: “i am a warrior“. He will therefore probably start against Empoli (8:45 p.m.), this Saturday evening, on behalf of the 31st day of the championship.

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The man of the great evenings

Today, Milan can no longer do without his number 9. After officially ending the curse of his number, Giroud is currently his club’s top scorer in all competitions with 11 goals, tied with Rafael Leão. But the former Chelsea striker is above all the man of the big nights in 2022. His first victim of the year? AS Roma on January 6, with a goal and an assist to give the victory to his team (3-1). But his greatest feat of arms dates back to February 5.
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That evening, the Rossoneri, second, face Inter, first with four points ahead … and one game less. Potentially, therefore, 7 points. And even 10 points in the 75th minute of the derby after Ivan Perisic’s goal. Before the French international overturned the table with two goals in five minutes, spreading the striker’s full palette in the process. If Milan stayed alive in the title race, it owes it to “Oliviero”, who therefore struck again last Sunday against Napoli.

He surprised meacknowledged former defender Alessandro Costacurta this week in the columns of The Gazzetta dello Sport. He is always there, attentive. He touches few balls but he is decisive. I didn’t think he was a champion, yet he’s leading his team to the title.” “He is a player who can help a team, with his experience, his continuity and his strengthestimated for his part the former German striker Oliver Bierhoff, also passed by AC Milan. He is able to find the right space at the right time, scoring decisive goals. In the area, Giroud is always in the right place when needed.”

The relay with Zlatan

Upon his arrival in Lombardy last summer, the Frenchman was regularly questioned about his future agreement with Zlatan Ibrahimovic, not really inclined to give up his place at the forefront of the 4-2-3-1. “But we can both play depending on the matches, it’s the coach who will decide“, he warned at the time. With ten matches remaining in the season, they will have done so only on rare occasions, preferring instead to pass the baton.

When Giroud was on the flank (Covid-19, back and thigh injury), Zlatan carried his team’s attack until January. Before he also injured himself, leaving the field open to his teammate. In total, the two players have accumulated 47 matches (27 for Giroud, 20 for Ibrahimovic) and 19 goals (11 for Giroud, 8 for Zlatan). But with the world champion on the field, Milan almost systematically wins the victory.

Olivier Giroud, already at home

In 18 starts this season, the former Montpellier striker can boast 13 wins, 4 draws and only one small defeat. Almost infallible. For his part, the Swedish forty-year-old has had a little less success: 4 wins, 3 draws and 5 losses in 12 starts. The Milanese coach now has a problem of wealth: his two attackers are available, even if Ibrahimovic, back from injury, does not yet have ninety minutes in his legs. In Naples, he entered at the very end of the match. And against Empoli on Saturday?

The hierarchy has changed, Giroud is now the incumbent”, warned The Gazzetta dello Sport this week in an article titled “The Great Turnaround”. “The Frenchman, with his goals, his performances and his state of mind, changed the hierarchy of attackers in Milan“, could we read there. Asked about his French striker on Friday, Stefano Pioli wanted to salute his “incredible professionalism“.”I love everything about himexplained the Milanese technician at a press conference. How he works for the team, under pressure… He can also pick up to distribute or take depth. But what I like above all is the person he is, determined and serene, with whom you like to work.”

The state of mind, by the way. This is what, probably, has always been welcomed by everyone concerning Giroud, from his most loyal supporters to his greatest refractories. Within the Lombard club, we say we are literally amazed by the player’s mind.

He may have won everything in his career, his desire to learn is still enormous, like his hunger for success and work.says an employee. He always has a word for everyone when he arrives at Milanello. Giroud arrived at a club under reconstruction and he made himself available without claiming anything. The locker room loves him, like everyone here. It may not be a fuoriclasse, but it is a great champion and above all an example.”

“With Giroud, Deschamps is not resentful but he is not absolutely frank”

After a decade spent in London, the Frenchman born of two Italian grandmothers (Yvonne and Tonia) says he is perfectly fulfilled in his new life in the Boot. With his wife and four children, Giroud opted for a home not too far from his second, San Siro, where he scored ten of his eleven goals. His daily life could not be more normal, like when he takes his daughter horseback riding or one of his two boys to play football. This normality, precisely, makes its charm with the tifosi.

He always stops to sign an autograph or take a picture with a childsays a regular at Milanello. He is someone who is close to people. I even remember that at the start of the season, he left the training center to give his shoes to a young supporter who had been waiting in the cold for hours. How can you not like it?“While waiting, perhaps, for the title, Giroud has already won something this season: the hearts of the tifosi.

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