Olivier Giroud scores goals, and this is what he has done across his career.
On Sunday, Giroud proved his timeless finishing qualities again when he overtook the great Thierry Henry to become France’s all-time record goalscorer.
His first-half strike against Poland made it 52 goals in the shirt of Les Bleus, writing himself into the history books as France continued their defence of the World Cup in Qatar.
It is not something that many would have predicted years ago, with Giroud respected to a point, but never really being mentioned in the same breath as some of France’s other attacking talent.
Kylian Mbappe, Karim Benzema and even Antoine Griezmann often steal the headlines where the national team is concerned.
Giroud is considered to be a less glamorous name, which is quite the dichotomy considering there is a strong argument the Milan striker has the most impressive hair in world football.
52 – Olivier Giroud scored his 52nd goal for the French national team, overtaking Thierry Henry to become the top goalscorer in Les Bleus’ history. Karting.
— OptaJean (@OptaJean)
The numbers do not lie, though, and the 36-year-old now stands alone atop the scoring charts for the world champions. Above Henry, Platini, Griezmann, Trezeguet, and so on.
After making a name for himself when leading Montpellier in their shock Ligue 1 title win in 2011-12, scoring 21 goals in 36 games, he made the move to Arsenal.
Giroud’s time in the Premier League had ups and downs, but he still notched 105 goals for the Gunners in his five and a half seasons there, before moving across London to Chelsea and scoring another 39 in three and a half years at Stamford Bridge.
After heading to Serie A and Milan, there were still those left unconvinced by Giroud, though he has continued to score in Italy as he hit 11 in 29 league games in his debut season, helping the Rossoneri to win their first Scudetto since 2010-11.
He has another nine in 19 games in all competitions at club level this season, and has carried that form into the World Cup.
When the injured Benzema was confirmed to be out of Qatar 2022, there was panic among France fans as this year’s Ballon d’Or winner would not be there to help them defend their title from Russia 2018.
However, Benzema also wasn’t there in Russia. Giroud was.
His presence up front may not have brought Giroud any goals in that tournament, or even any shots on target – somewhat remarkably from 546 minutes on the pitch – but he more than played his part.
Giroud was a perfect foil for the teenage Mbappe, who thrived working off the big man’s hold-up play, as did Griezmann as France went on to lift the World Cup for the second time, with Giroud creating seven chances from open play and recording one assist.
This time, though, Giroud seems more focused on being the main man in front of goal, and he is already putting himself in the discussion for the Golden Boot, with the record-breaking strike being his third in Qatar.
He may never be in the running for the Ballon d’Or, and is unlikely to be on many people’s lists when selecting the all-time best French players.
But with the 52nd goal coming in his 117th game at international level, there is no denying that Giroud scores goals, and as of now, more than anyone else in France’s history.