Olivier Giroud moved across London to Chelsea from Arsenal in January 2018. The striker arrived with a proven pedigree at the highest level having scored goals regularly in the Premier League, in Europe and on the international stage for France.
A strong, physical forward, Giroud is lethal in the air and clinical with his feet in and around the penalty area. He played an important role in our successes in the FA Cup (2018) and the Europa League (2019), scoring against his former club in the final of the latter competition in Baku.
Having made his Chelsea debut in an away game at Watford at the start of February 2018, Giroud impressed on his first start at home to West Bromwich Albion and scored his maiden goal for the club in our following game, a 4-0 FA Cup win over Hull City.
Giroud had to wait a while for his first league goals in Chelsea blue, but when they arrived they swung an away game at Southampton decisively in our favour as we fought back from 2-0 down. He scored another goal against the same opposition at Wembley a week later, setting us on our way to victory in the FA Cup semi-final with a slalom individual goal.
He headed a fine winning goal against Liverpool in May and finished the season as first-choice striker, working hard in our FA Cup final win over Man United which earned him a fourth winner’s medal in the competition.
Due to his involvement in the later stages of the 2018 World Cup, Giroud arrived back for pre-season training later than most, meaning his start to the season was naturally slow in terms of involvement.
His first goal of the season, a well-taken header, proved decisive away against BATE Borisov in the Europa League, and that was followed by a brilliant brace in a 4-0 win over PAOK at the Bridge. In December, Giroud then rescued a point with a stunning last-gasp free-kick as we drew 2-2 against MOL Vidi.
He had truly made the Europa League his competition and finished as the top scorer with 11 goals, the last of which was the crucial opener against his former club Arsenal in the Baku final. It was typical Giroud – a magnificent and improbable header from an awkward angle that flew into the net and broke the deadlock (below).
Earlier in the knockout stage he scored home and away against Malmo and followed that up with a perfect hat-trick away to Dynamo Kiev in the last 16. He also scored against Slavia Prague in the victorious quarter-final, so there was nobody more deserving of a winner’s medal than him in Azerbaijan.
At the beginning of his second full season at Chelsea, Giroud had been very much involved, starting and scoring in the Super Cup in Istanbul, and retaining his place for the visit of Leicester a few days later.
However, with Tammy Abraham hitting top form and Michy Batshuayi the favoured option off the bench, Giroud would play just 90 minutes of Premier League football from the end of August until mid-February, when he would return with a bang to remind everyone of his credentials.
Following a bright cameo off the bench against Manchester United, he started our next five games in all competitions before the run was interrupted by the Covid lockdown, re-emphasising his importance to the squad by taking on the responsibility of leading the attack with Tammy Abraham injured.
He made a significant contribution, too, not least when he expertly found the net to open the scoring in the win against Tottenham in February. He also helped to knock Liverpool out of the FA Cup, and netted in our last league game before football was suspended, against Everton.
He continued that form when the Premier League resumed, having signed a new contract with Chelsea until the end of 2020/21 during the break, and celebrated by scoring the winner against Aston Villa in our first match of the restart.
That was the beginning of a run of form which saw him score eight goals in nine starts for Chelsea, including in four consecutive games around our FA Cup semi-final victory over Man Utd, as he finished the season as Frank Lampard’s first-choice centre-forward.
Giroud began his career with Grenoble and, after moving up through the ranks, eventually made his first-team debut for the French club in 2006.
A loan spell at Istres followed before he joined Ligue 2 club Tours on a permanent basis. So impressive were his displays for Tours, Giroud then moved to Montpellier, in the French top flight, in July 2010.
The striker made a goalscoring debut for Montpellier and enjoyed a solid first season with the club, scoring both goals in a 2-2 draw at PSG, as well as netting the winner against the same opposition in a League Cup semi-final.
His second campaign at the club really could not have gone any better, with the forward netting hat-tricks in matches against Dijon and Sochaux as well as the winning goals against Lyon, Nice and St-Etienne as Montpellier won the French title for the first time in their history. He ended the campaign with 21 league goals.
After signing for Arsenal in the summer of 2012, Giroud quickly adapted to the demands of English football. He ended the 2013/14 and 2014/15 seasons by playing in victorious FA Cup finals and in the second of those – a 4-0 win over Aston Villa – it was Giroud who completed the scoring.
His best goalscoring return in a season at Arsenal came in 2015/16 when he found the net 24 times and he reached the 100-goal mark for the north London side in September 2017.
Giroud has been involved regularly with the France national team since making his debut in 2011 when he was introduced as a substitute against the USA. He scored his first goal a year later in a friendly win over Germany.
His maiden appearance at a major tournament came in a Euro 2012 game against Ukraine.
Two years later, at the World Cup in Brazil, Giroud opened the scoring when France beat Switzerland 5-2.
Giroud was then part of the France squad who reached the final of the European Championships in 2016, which were played on home soil.
The striker scored the opening goal in their first game, a 2-1 win over Romania, and netted a brace as France beat Iceland 5-2 in the quarter-finals.
In 2018, France put the disappointment of that final defeat behind them when they were crowned world champions, defeating Croatia 4-2 in a dramatic World Cup final.
Giroud featured regularly throughout their successful campaign, with his physical presence up front allowing the likes of Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappe to profit, and he started the final against Croatia.
Shortly before the tournament Giroud had scored his 31st goal for France, becoming their fourth-highest scorer of all-time.
The striker was then named in the squad for Euro 2016, which took place on home soil, and it was Giroud who scored the first goal of the tournament when he headed the hosts into the lead against Romania.
He followed it up with a brace in their 5-2 quarter-final win over Iceland and ended the competition as the joint-second top scorer.
Having been named in the France squad for the 2018 World Cup, Giroud started their first game on the bench before going on to lead the line for the rest of the tournament, which ended with the Chelsea striker becoming a World Cup-winner.
Manager Didier Deschamps brought Giroud into the starting line-up for their second match, with his impressive hold-up play and ability to link-up well with the likes of Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappe ensuring he remained the focal point of their attack throughout.
Giroud produced a wonderful assist for Mbappe in France's dramatic 4-3 win over Argentina, and produced a solid display in the final as they ran out 4-2 winners against Croatia to secure the trophy.
He confirmed his enduring importance to France on the international stage in October 2020 when he marked his 100th cap for his country by netting his 41st and 42nd goals for Les Bleus, overtaking Michel Platini as their second-highest scorer of all time.
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