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Olivier Giroud equals Thierry Henry’s goalscoring record and guides the Blues

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At 36, the stainless center-forward won the ultimate record in Qatar that he had been watching for several years: the 51 goals of his illustrious predecessor, like him on the side of Arsenal. And he did not drag since he did it with a double entry, against Australia for the first match (32nd and 71st) of the Blues.

What fate! In September, his participation in the Qatari World Cup was far from certain, Didier Deschamps having left him aside each time Karim Benzema had been available for a year. But Giroud knew how to make himself indispensable and win his place, once again. Benzema’s package then opened up a boulevard for him towards the starting “eleven” and 51 goals.

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If this vertiginous mark will be difficult to keep (Antoine Griezmann (42 goals) approaches, Kylian Mbappé (28 goals) arrives at full speed), it comes to reward an astonishing course, strewn with pitfalls and challenges.

“Difficulty keeps me going”

“I have always built myself in adversity, it’s a bit of the story of my career”, he described in 2020. “There are times when I would have preferred it to be easier but you have to believe that difficulty keeps me going”.

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This native of Chambéry hatched late: after Grenoble, Istres and Tours, he only discovered Ligue 1 at the age of 23 in Montpellier, when other Tricolores like Benzema, younger than him, were already getting used to gatherings at Clairefontaine, the training center of the Blues.

The gate of the Château des Yvelines opened in November 2011. And a few months later, another dream came true, the Premier League: in five and a half years at Arsenal, the French gunner rolled out his palette: subtle deviations, helmet shots and big firecrackers in the skylight, anything goes. At the same time, he became Didier Deschamps’ basic man, first alongside Benzema, then without him once the Madrid player was banned.

Deschamps ironically

The evangelical Christian, author of a book entitled “Always believe in it”, also has easy forgiveness vis-à-vis the Madrilenian, who had compared himself to a “Formula 1” against “karting” Giroud. “I’ll invite him to a kart circuit and we’ll fight each other at the kart, that’s it!”, He jokes.

Over the years, the man with 115 caps sometimes loses playing time, at Arsenal and then Chelsea. But each time, the France team offers him a breath of fresh air, he is decisive there. And when his status wavers with the Blues, in 2022, he devours every “crumb” with the appetite of an ogre, accepting a role as Benzema’s understudy while biding his time. At 36, it has finally arrived.

Even the French sports media, long mixed against him, become unanimous as the World Cup-2022 approaches. “He’s been adored lately!” Deschamps joked on Monday. “There are many who have criticized him, but recently he is an indisputable starter! So France is delighted, me too, and Olivier too”.

Source: Europe1

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