EPL

'Grandpa is not dead!' - Giroud insists he has no plans to call time on France career

By Sports Desk June 22, 2021

Olivier Giroud has insisted he has no intention of calling time on his France career after Euro 2020 and says he still has "the hunger of a 20-year-old".

The Chelsea striker, who turns 35 in September, has fallen down Les Blues' pecking order following Karim Benzema's shock return to the national team last month after a near six-year exile.

He was an unused substitute in France's 1-0 win over Germany in their Group F opener and played the final 14 minutes in Saturday's 1-1 draw with Hungary.

Giroud has previously suggested Euro 2020 will be his final campaign with France, but he has now declared that he has plenty more to give to his national side.

"I'm not finished, far from it. Count on me, grandpa is not dead!" Giroud, who was one of the key members of France's World Cup-winning squad in 2018, told Le Figaro.

"I'm almost 35 but have the hunger of a 20-year-old guy. I know how to do it with the team.

"The France team has a fairly incredible strike force, but I have a card to play because there are no other players with my profile. I am here to respond and bring what I want.

"I have the desire and, if the young people want to move me, they will have to be ready too."

Giroud's appearance against Hungary was his 100th in a France shirt while playing under Didier Deschamps.

No other player for Les Bleus has ever recorded a century of senior international appearances with the same man in charge.

The closest players to Giroud's tally under Deschamps are Antoine Griezmann (93 appearances), Hugo Lloris (90), Paul Pogba (82) and Blaise Matuidi (80).

He has won 109 caps in total for France and has 46 goals to his name, leaving him second in the nation's all-time top scorers list and just five short of Thierry Henry's record.

Chelsea confirmed earlier this month they have activated a 12-month extension in Giroud's contract, but he continues to be linked with Serie A giants Milan.

Related items

  • Chiellini 'convinced' Allegri can reclaim Scudetto for Juventus Chiellini 'convinced' Allegri can reclaim Scudetto for Juventus

    Giorgio Chiellini is convinced Massimiliano Allegri is the right man to reclaim the Scudetto for Juventus following the failed Andrea Pirlo experiment.

    Celebrated former midfielder Pirlo failed to guide the Bianconeri to a 10th successive Serie A title last season and was sacked in May, before the halfway point of a two-year deal.

    Allegri was named as Pirlo's successor on the same day for a second spell in charge, having previously guided Juve to five league titles, four Coppas Italia and two Champions League finals.

    Juve amassed 142 wins in their 190 league games under Allegri – only Giovanni Trapattoni has overseen more matches – giving him a win percentage of 74.74, clear of second-placed Antonio Conte (72.81), who managed 83 triumphs from 114 matches.

    During his five seasons with Juve, Allegri suffered just 20 league defeats, with his team scoring 380 goals and conceding 125 in return, averaging 2.39 points per game.

    Allegri is responsible for three of the seven Juventus seasons during which they have netted 100 goals or more, meanwhile, alongside Pirlo, Conte and Jesse Carver.

    Chiellini was a part of that successful period at the club and will likely play a key role in this latest new era for Juventus after penning a two-year contract extension on Monday.

    Allegri's immediate aim is to win back the title from Inter, while also seeing off competition from the likes of Milan and Atalanta, and experienced centre-back Chiellini is ready to do his bit.

    "I am happy to see him again," Chiellini told Juventus TV. "He gave me and everyone a great deal. 

    "I've kept in contact with the lads, and they've told me he's really fired up for the start of the season. I'm convinced he is the right man to take this team back to the top and create a new cycle.

    "I am here to give my contribution, above all on the field, but off it too."

     

    Chiellini has made 535 appearances for Juventus since joining in 2004 but has played just 21 times in Serie A since the start of 2019-20, partly due to injury.

    He showed his quality at Euro 2020 as he helped Italy to their first continental crown in 53 years, starting five of the Azzurri's seven matches in the tournament.

    The Livorno product produced six clearances, which was four more than any other Italy player, while also leading the way for interceptions (three) and aerial duels (seven).

    After putting an end to potential retirement talk by putting pen to paper with Juve, Chiellini is now eyeing up a place in Italy's World Cup squad for Qatar 2022.

    "The World Cup is just over a year away, so we'll see," he said. "I always want to enjoy every moment and to think of the present. 

    "If I am fortunate enough to be in good shape and able to participate in the World Cup, then I'll be happy. If I don't, then I'll be happy anyway.

    "I've learned over the last few years that the only secret is to live in the moment and without thinking of faraway objectives.

    "Now we need to get the engine going again after these few weeks when I needed time to recover, then we'll take it one week at a time, game by game, and see where we end up."

  • Chiellini re-signs with Juventus on two-year contract Chiellini re-signs with Juventus on two-year contract

    Giorgio Chiellini has, as expected, re-signed with Juventus following the announcement of a new two-year contract.

    Chiellini, 36, technically ceased to be a Juve player when his previous deal expired at the end of June after 17 years with the club.

    His agent, who referred to potential retirement talk after Euro 2020 success as "madness", suggested Chiellini was open to hearing offers from other clubs, not just Juve.

    Though it was always widely believed he would sign on again in Turin, Monday's confirmation put any doubts to bed.

    The deal also suggests Chiellini has designs on featuring for Italy at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, with the veteran seemingly deciding to carry on with the Azzurri after Euro 2020.

    Chiellini's performances in that tournament were evidence enough that he is far from finished at the top, his defensive dominance a vital element of an Italy team that played entertaining football but were also solid at the back.

    He was colossal in the final as Italy beat England on penalties after a 1-1 draw.

    Chiellini produced six clearances – four more than any other Italy player – and three interceptions, won more aerial duels (7) than anyone else in blue and completed 95.7 per cent of his 115 passes.

    Juve will hope to see a little more of that Chiellini themselves in 2021-22, given he has played just 21 Serie A matches since the start of 2019-20, partly due to injury. 

    He featured 17 times in 2020-21 as the club failed to win a 10th successive Scudetto.

    Chiellini has made 535 appearances for Juventus since joining them in 2004, while he has also played 112 times for his country.

    He has won the Scudetto nine times and claimed five Coppa Italia titles.

  • Messi contract? We're on it, says Barca president Laporta Messi contract? We're on it, says Barca president Laporta

    Barcelona remain confident of a resolution as they wait to announce a new contract for legendary forward Lionel Messi.

    The long-time Barca captain has been a free agent since his previous deal expired on July 1.

    A fresh agreement on more reasonable financial terms for the cash-strapped Catalan club has been anticipated for some time, but barriers remain.

    So scant are Barca's resources amid the coronavirus pandemic that LaLiga will not allow new players to be registered until space has been cleared for their wages.

    That has meant delays for the club's 2021 signings, including Messi, due to his free agency.

    The coming week has been mooted as potentially pivotal as the new season nears, with a breakthrough hoped for ahead of Sunday's friendly against Juventus.

    Barca president Joan Laporta spoke on Monday as Emerson Royal was presented at Camp Nou, saying: "Regarding Leo, things are going well.

    "We're trying to resolve the issues that need to be resolved. They're important, of course, but we're on it."

     

    Despite the arrivals of Memphis Depay and Sergio Aguero, Messi is set to remain Barca's main man in attack.

    He has been involved in 937 goals in 778 games for the Blaugrana, scoring at least 30 times in 13 consecutive seasons.

    Messi has netted 10 or more LaLiga goals in a record 15 straight campaigns, making him the top scorer in the competition's history (474 goals).

    Only rival Cristiano Ronaldo (476) has more goals in Europe's top five leagues.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.