Doha: Olivier Giroud believes his France scoring record is a great example for young players because it was a reward for his resilience after a career featuring many ups and downs.
Giroud, 36, surpassed Thierry Henry’s mark when he netted his 52nd goal in 117 appearances for Les Bleus in their 3-1 World Cup last-16 win over Poland to become France’s all-time top scorer.
It did not come easy for Giroud, who has rarely been considered a first choice for his country.
He owes his place in the team in Qatar to Karim Benzema’s absence and will start again when the defending champions take on England in the quarter-finals on Saturday.
Giroud made his debut in Ligue 1 with Montpellier at the age of 24 before winning his first cap for France a year later.
After last year’s European Championship exit in the last 16 against Switzerland, Giroud was omitted by coach Didier Deschamps until March.
“This record reminds me of the years that have gone by, 11 years with France with a lot of good memories and some not so good,” Giroud, who answered questions in French, English and Italian, told a news conference on Tuesday.
“I think the most important is to show a good example to the young players, to show them that even if the path they’re on is not a straightforward path, they can do it.
“I wasn’t playing at the highest level at 20, so if it can serve as an example that anything is possible, it’s great. It shows that you can’t get everything right away, like the youngsters want now, that resilience and patience are key.” Giroud’s career appeared to be stalling 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 a few good years ahead of me,” said Giroud, who has scored 23 goals in 57 appearances for the Rossoneri.
“I was confident I could do well and in my first year we won the Scudetto (Italian league title).”