Kylian Mbappe and Olivier Giroud were on target as France picked up their first Nations League victory of the campaign with a 2-0 victory over Austria on Thursday.

Les Bleus faced serious injury difficulties heading into the international break, with Paul Pogba and N'Golo Kante among the absentees, and often lacked fluidity at the Stade de France.

But Mbappe stepped up after 56 minutes to drive past numerous defenders and finish past Patrick Pentz before Giroud headed in to help Didier Deschamps' side to victory.

The winners of the last edition, France will now have their Nations League relegation fate in their hands, but cannot progress through Group A1 after leaders Croatia downed Denmark.

Mbappe thought he had curled France into a second-minute lead, only for the offside flag to deny him, before Jonathan Clauss forced Pentz to push over from range.

Jules Kounde was withdrawn as Les Bleus' injury woes continued before Benoit Badiashile's acrobatic effort was tipped onto the crossbar by Pentz, who denied Antoine Griezmann's close-range follow-up.

A smart passing move between Mbappe and Griezmann resulted in Clauss curling narrowly over after the interval, but France were soon ahead.

Mbappe received the ball from a driving Giroud run before powering forward into the area and firing a right-footed effort past the reach of Pentz.

Griezmann provided the second goal as his cross from the right wing found Giroud, who flicked a header into the top-left corner to secure the victory for France.

Napoli returned to the Serie A summit as Giovanni Simeone's 78th-minute header sealed a 2-1 win over previously unbeaten Milan at San Siro on Sunday.

Milan had 11 shots to Napoli's three in a dominant first half, but the visitors went ahead shortly after the break when Matteo Politano stroked home from 12 yards following Sergino Dest's clumsy foul on Khvicha Kvaratskhelia.

Olivier Giroud pulled Milan level in the 69th minute, but substitute Simeone popped with the winner to seal a huge victory for Luciano Spalletti's side, who remain unbeaten in the league this season.

The result means Napoli leapfrogged Udinese and Atalanta at the top of the table, while Milan dropped down to fifth after a first Serie A defeat in 23 games.

[21:43] guyatkinson (Guest)

Milan started strongly and were denied a 13th-minute lead when Giroud's strike from 12 yards was superbly tipped onto the crossbar by Alex Meret.

The Napoli goalkeeper was called into action again shortly before the half-hour mark when he pushed over Rade Krunic's header from a corner.

Napoli offered almost no attacking threat in the first half, yet they went ahead 10 minutes after the interval when Politano scored from the spot after substitute Dest had fouled Kvaratskhelia – the decision given after referee Maurizio Mariani was told to check the pitch-side monitor by VAR.

Meret denied Junior Messias soon after, before Giroud pulled Milan level with a simple finish from eight yards after fine work down the left by Theo Hernandez. 

Their joy was short-lived, however, as Simeone stole into the area to glance home Mario Rui's cross from the left wing.

Milan should have snatched a point with four minutes remaining, yet substitute Pierre Kalulu inexplicably crashed against the crossbar with only Meret to beat from eight yards.

Milan head coach Stefano Pioli noted the "positive step" his team took as they earned their first win in the Champions League group stage this season against Dinamo Zagreb.

An Olivier Giroud penalty was followed by goals from Alexis Saelemaekers and substitute Tommaso Pobega, though Mislav Orsic briefly made a game of it as he pulled a goal back before the latter's late strike.

The win was Milan's first at home in the Champions League since September 2013 when they beat Celtic 2-0.

The six games without victory at San Siro was their longest run in the competition, having drawn three and lost three, but the win against their Croatian opponents on Wednesday gave the Rossoneri four points in Group E, having drawn 1-1 at Salzburg last week in their first game.

Speaking to Sky Sport Italia after the game, Pioli spoke of "dreaming" but noted caution as he felt his team could still play better.

"Dreaming is beautiful, the parallel is 'dreaming at night and working during the day to be able to achieve our dreams'," he said.

"Today's victory is yet another positive step, but we can do better."

Giroud's 45th-minute penalty was just his second goal in his last 12 Champions League appearances.

The France international had only taken six shots in his previous six appearances in the competition for Milan, but got four away against Dinamo, with three on target.

Speaking to Milan TV after the game, Giroud outlined his desire to keep scoring goals in Europe's premier competition, with back-to-back games against his former club Chelsea on the horizon.

"We started the match well, we could have improved the last pass and our finishing, but we are very happy," he said.

"It is always a special emotion to play the Champions League. I am very happy because I have one more goal and I want to continue like this."

Milan earned their first win of this season's Champions League group stage, but were made to work for it by Dinamo Zagreb as the Italian champions secured a 3-1 victory at San Siro.

Goals either side of half-time from Olivier Giroud and Alexis Saelemaekers gave Stefano Pioli's men a strong lead.

They were made to sweat after Mislav Orsic – who scored the winner against Chelsea for Dinamo last week – pulled his team within one goal again with a fine finish just before the hour mark.

The Rossoneri appeared to tire in the closing stages of the game, but sealed the points when substitute Tommaso Pobega swept in a third for Milan's first home win in the Champions League since they beat Celtic in September 2013.

Milan made the early running, with Sandro Tonali and Giroud seeing early efforts sail over the crossbar, while Ismael Bennacer and Saelemaekers had shots from range easily saved by Dominik Livakovic.

A rare moment of panic from an otherwise organised Dinamo cost them when Josip Sutalo kicked through the back of Leao as he tried to intercept a pass into the area, and the referee pointed to the spot, with Giroud calmly sending Livakovic the wrong way from 12 yards, putting his penalty to the goalkeeper's left to give Milan the lead just before the break.

It did not take long in the second half for Pioli's side to double their advantage, with Leao working space down the left before standing up a cross for Saelemaekers to head in from close range for his second goal in two group stage games this season.

The game was not done though, with the dangerous Orsic playing a neat one-two with Bruno Petkovic, cutting through the Milan defence before the former placed his shot into the far corner of the net to halve the deficit.

Pobega finished well to clinch it after 77 minutes, hitting a first-time shot from Theo Hernandez's cut back in off the bar as Milan move on to four points in Group E from their first two games, a point ahead of Dinamo.

Stefano Pioli has no worries about continuing to select Olivier Giroud to lead the Milan attack in the continued absence of Divock Origi.

Giroud has played in all seven of Milan's matches so far this season, starting five of those, due to the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Ante Rebic and new signing Origi being injured.

Origi has managed just 80 minutes of action since arriving as a free agent in the transfer window and has yet to open his goalscoring account for the club.

Pioli had hoped to call on the ex-Liverpool striker before next week's international break, but he has been ruled out of Wednesday's Champions League tie with Dinamo Zagreb.

France international Giroud, who turns 36 later this month, is now expected to start at San Siro as he looks to add to his tally of three goals and an assist so far this term.

Milan head coach Pioli is not overly concerned by Origi's injury-plagued start to life at the club and is happy for Giroud to continue in the role.

"Olivier can play every game, and I have many other players who can also play in that position," Pioli said at Tuesday's press conference.

"I'm not worried about Origi's injury, but sorry. He is a player we strongly wanted and I'm now hoping to have him back after the [international] break."

 

Giroud has scored only one goal in his past 11 Champions League appearances, managing just eight shots in total across that period – only five of which were on target.

Milan could do with the former Arsenal and Chelsea striker stepping up on Wednesday as they aim to improve on last week's 1-1 draw away at Salzburg in their Group E opener.

However, Zagreb enter the contest in good form having won six games on the spin, including a 1-0 victory over Chelsea that leaves them top of the early standings.

"We have to put our full potential into every game," Pioli said. "Tomorrow's match is very important, but not yet decisive because there are many other matches remaining.

"We could be on top of the group with a win. We have a chance, but it will be difficult because Dinamo deservedly won the first game [against Chelsea].

"If we play at a high level, we have a good chance to win both in Italy and in Europe. We have to play at our best."

Milan withstood Rafael Leao's red card early in the second half to beat Sampdoria 2-1 and maintain their unbeaten start to the Serie A season.

Stefano Pioli's champions were dominant in the first half at Stadio Luigi Ferraris and went in at the break a goal up thanks to Junior Messias' early strike – his first of the season.

However, Leao received a second yellow card two minutes after half-time for a high foot, giving Samp the impetus to level through Filip Djuricic shortly before the hour mark.

Rather than concede again, though, Milan snatched all three points in the 67th minute when Olivier Giroud slammed in from the penalty spot after Gonzalo Villar had handled in the area.

The Rossoneri went ahead in the sixth minute when Messias finished from 12 yards following a flowing move involving Giroud and Leao, although goalkeeper Emil Audero will feel he should have done more.  

Djuricic whipped against the crossbar from 20 yards soon after, before Charles de Ketelaere was denied a first Milan goal when his bundled effort was ruled out for offside after a lengthy VAR review.

Milan were dealt a blow immediately after the break when Leao received a second booking after he struck Alex Ferrari in the face when attempting an overhead kick. 

And Samp took advantage of their numerical advantage in the 57th minute when Djuricic headed home Tommaso Augello's cross inside the six-yard box.

But Milan had the final word as Giroud hit the roof of the net from 12 yards after the VAR had spotted a handball by Villar, prompting a pitchside review from referee Michael Fabbri.

Samp still came agonisingly close to rescuing a point in a late scramble as Mike Maignan twice denied Manolo Gabbiadini either side of a Fabio Quagliarella effort that struck the post.

Instead, a frustrating defeat ended with coach Marco Giampaolo sent off for remonstrating with Fabbri.

Olivier Giroud hopes to follow Zlatan Ibrahimovic's lead by playing at an elite level for several more years, as he targets a spot in Didier Deschamps' France squad for the World Cup in Qatar. 

Giroud found the net as Milan claimed a 3-2 victory over rivals Inter on Saturday, his 13th goal in just 25 Serie A starts for the Rossoneri.

The 35-year-old signed an initial two-year contract when he made the move to Italy in July 2021, but is keen to play on beyond the end of this season and has been inspired by the hunger of his fellow Milan striker Ibrahimovic. 

Speaking to Telefoot, Giroud said: "I still have the motivation and determination. I think the state of mind is important at my age. 

"I would like to continue, but only if my body will allow me. 

"I was discussing it with Ibra. For him it is the same, Zlatan is still hungry."

Ibrahimovic, 40, scored eight times as Milan ended an 11-year wait for the Scudetto last season, having also plundered 14 goals in 29 appearances when the Rossoneri were last crowned champions of Italy in 2010-11.

While Milan's Scudetto triumph represented Giroud's first league title since winning Ligue 1 with Montpellier in 2011-12, his trophy haul includes a 2018 World Cup win with France.

Giroud, who is just three goals short of matching Thierry Henry as the most prolific player in Les Bleus' history, has scored two international goals in 2022, and is keen to feature at his third World Cup later this year.

"I don't know anything honestly, also because I'm not the coach. But obviously it must be a goal," he said. 

"With my history with France, having the chance to play a third World Cup is a chance. I think, if that was not a goal, it would be nonsense. 

"The number one goal is daily life with Milan, France is still a bonus.

"If I am world champion for the second time, I will have to do something a little crazy, [like] shave my beard!"

Meanwhile, Giroud is set to be reunited with one of his former clubs next month, with Milan travelling to Chelsea in the Champions League on October 5.

The striker retains much affection for the club and believes he will receive a positive reception at Stamford Bridge, adding: "I hope for a warm welcome from Chelsea in London. I left the Blues on good terms, like all my other clubs. 

"Returning to play with Milan at Stamford Bridge is great. I think it will be a good moment."

Rafael Leao was Milan's hero in the derby against Inter and head coach Stefano Pioli says the Rossoneri are determined to tie the in-demand forward to a new deal.

Leao scored twice and provided an assist for Olivier Giroud as the Serie A champions defeated their city rivals 3-2 in an entertaining clash at San Siro on Saturday.

It was a welcome performance for Milan supporters, who had seen their star linked with a move to Premier League big-spenders Chelsea on transfer deadline day.

However, the Blues were rebuffed in their attempts to strike a deal for a player who reportedly has a €150million release clause in his contract, which runs until June 2024.

Pioli said he was never fearful Leao would depart and has now confirmed the plan is to tie the 23-year-old to a longer contract.

"These are not things that I can decide, but I believe the club wants to offer Leao a new deal soon. He is working at the best level," he told reporters.

"Rafa has beautiful attitudes, he knows that he has been gifted with talent.

"Then for the contract, whoever has to do what he has to do."

Giroud says he was always confident his Leao would stay with Milan, saying: "I was not worried about him. I knew he would remain here."

Pioli is sure there is plenty more to come from the Portugal international.

Speaking to DAZN, he said: "In order to improve, you need talent and intelligence, so Leao has both of those. We gave him the time and freedom to make mistakes so he could learn.

"Naturally, every time we put him in one-on-one situations, he's an important weapon in our armoury. 

"Rafa has a body language that might confuse people, but I can assure you he knows what potential he has and is very eager to learn."

Rafael Leao scored one and assisted another as Milan continued their unbeaten Serie A start with a dominant 2-0 victory over Bologna.

Stefano Pioli's side had to recover from a goal down in each of their opening two league games, winning one and drawing the other, but did not need another rescue act on Saturday.

Leao was a constant threat down the left flank and grabbed a deserved goal in the first half, before setting up a smart Olivier Giroud finish in the second half to cap an impressive performance.

Victory at least temporarily moved Milan to the top of the embryonic Serie A table, while the Rossoneri are now unbeaten in 19 top-flight games – the longest ongoing undefeated streak in Europe's top five leagues.

 

Pioli's men started slowly but kicked into gear after 21 minutes as Charles de Ketelaere dispossessed Jerdy Schouten and powered forward to tee up Leao, who rolled his finish into the bottom-left corner.

De Ketelaere continued to be Milan's chief creative force, chipping a delicate pass through for Pierre Kalulu, only for the defender to waste a glorious one-on-one chance up against Lukasz Skorupski.

Junior Messias was the next to be thwarted by Skorupski, before Leao blazed over the rebound, and Giroud dragged just wide of the target prior to the break.

The Rossoneri deservedly doubled their lead after 58 minutes when Leao lofted in a cross from the left for Giroud to acrobatically volley into the bottom-right corner.

Nicola Sansone almost hit back for Bologna, but his driven effort cannoned against Mike Maignan's right-hand post as Milan preserved their first clean sheet of the campaign.

What does it mean? Milan continue Bologna dominance

Milan had only lost one of their previous 25 Serie A meetings with Bologna, with that defeat coming in January 2016 when Rossoblu coach Sinisa Mihajlovic was with the Rossoneri.

Given their recent dominance in this fixture and last season's Scudetto-winning exploits, it came as little surprise to see Milan control most of proceedings – not allowing a single Bologna shot on target.

With Inter to come next weekend, Milan have thrown down an early marker as they look to defend their title this season.

Home comforts for Leao

Leao was a pivotal factor for Pioli last season as Milan edged out fierce rivals Inter to lift the Scudetto, and the Portugal international proved his worth once more here.

The 23-year-old has scored eight times in the league at home since the start of 2022, with no Serie A player finding the net on more occasions at their own stadium in that time.

Awful Arnautovic

Marko Arnautovic was in the headlines earlier in the month after being linked to Manchester United, only for backlash from Red Devils fans to seemingly end any talk of a move.

The forward subsequently became the first player to score in both of Bologna's first two games in a Serie A season since Roberto Baggio in 1997-98, but he failed to deliver up against Milan's well-regimented defence.

What's next?

Milan will look to maintain their unbeaten run when they travel to Sassuolo on Tuesday ahead of the derby against Inter. Bologna host Salernitana on Thursday.

Olivier Giroud insisted Milan are proud to be champions of Italy after scoring a brace in their 2-1 win over Koln to start their pre-season.

Giroud effectively wrapped up the match with a first-half double as the Rossoneri's commenced preparation for their Serie A title defence, after the club claimed their first league title since 2011 last season.

Notably after receiving Ante Rebic's delightful backheel in transition to then chip Marvin Schwabe and finish with an open goal in the 16th minute, Giroud tapped the famed Scudetto on his shirt, awarded to the reigning league champions of Italy.

While expressing his positive feelings towards Milan's preparations, the 35-year-old admitted his celebration was a specific one post-match, intended a message to the club's fans.

"I think the Scudetto looks beautiful on this red-and-black shirt," Giroud said afterwards. "I wanted to send a small message to our fans that we are really proud to be the champions of Italy.

"It's always good to start with a goal. We did very well in the first half and the guys finished off the work well. I'm very happy as it's always a good thing to win the first game, although it's just a friendly.

"We're doing a really good job at Milanello, we're working very hard and there are some heavy sessions, and this heat makes it difficult but we did well today with good team spirit, playing with solidarity. We're almost ready, not 100 per cent, but I feel fine and the guys too."

Despite Franck Kessie's departure for Barcelona and reportedly losing out on Renato Sanches, Milan have arguably bolstered an already strong midfield in the off-season, with returns from loan for Yacine Adli and Tommaso Pobega.

While Pobega looked strong with a starting appearance, Adli impressed after coming on for the second half, with Giroud believing he will be a positive addition for the reigning champions.

"I think it's important to do the right things to give him a warm welcome," the veteran striker said. "He's a good guy, and knows he has a lot to learn here, but I was impressed by his quality, his assists, his pace and his vision.

"He's a good addition to the team. He needs to calm himself, but he's a good guy and I'm happy for him that he can be here at a great Milan."

Olivier Giroud joked he will treat Zlatan Ibrahimovic to dinner if the Swedish striker agrees to a new contract with Serie A champions Milan.

Ibrahimovic, who turns 41 in October, officially became a free agent last week after his existing deal at San Siro expired.

Despite his age and fitness issues that restricted him to only 12 starts in all competitions last season, the veteran is reported to have been offered a one-year deal by Milan.

Only Rafael Leao and Giroud (both 14) scored more goals than Ibrahimovic's eight last term, and the latter is hopeful of spending another season with the much-travelled striker.

"When he signs the renewal, I will pay for dinner," Giroud told Tuttomercatoweb. "We want him to sign, but there is obviously no pressure. 

"He is still hungry and he is important for the locker room. I talked a lot with him. He has the same desire to win even at 40."

Giroud's goals helped Milan to a first Scudetto triumph for 11 years in what was the France international's first season at the club after joining from Chelsea.

It was the second domestic league trophy won by Giroud, having previously lifted Ligue 1 win Montpellier in 2011-12.

Milan finished two points ahead of rivals Inter, while Juventus were 16 points adrift in fourth, but World Cup winner Giroud expects both sides to be stronger this coming season.

"Juve and Inter are the teams that have strengthened the most, so it will be a fierce battle between them and us," Giroud said.

Stefano Pioli's side have themselves strengthened, with striker Divock Origi among those to have arrived since Milan lifted the title in May.

The Belgium striker scored 22 goals in 107 Premier League appearances for Liverpool, while only starting 34 of those matches, and Giroud is relishing the additional competition.

"He speaks French, so I did my role as a big brother because it is very important to welcome everyone even if I am going to compete with him," Giroud said.

"I have always said that competition is very important to be strong, to learn and to give your best. It's a good reinforcement."

Olivier Giroud says he still harbours hopes of featuring for France at the World Cup later this year, having contributed to Milan's extraordinary Serie A title win in his first season in Italy.

Giroud has been left out of Didier Deschamps' squad for France's four UEFA Nations League fixtures next month, with the World Cup holders' schedule including a double-header against 2018 final foes Croatia.

But the striker, who appeared in all seven matches during France's second triumphant World Cup campaign in Russia, has impressed since joining Milan at the start of the season, joining Rafael Leao (both 11) as the Rossoneri's highest league goalscorers as Stefano Pioli's men won their first league title since 2010-11.

Giroud and has 112 caps for France and is just three goals away from equalling Thierry Henry's record of 51 goals for Les Blues, but will be 36 years old by the time his country begin their World Cup campaign on November 22.

But the former Arsenal and Chelsea striker admits he is keen on making a final appearance at world football's showpiece competition, although he is currently focused on celebrating a successful club campaign.

"It would be a lie to say that I don't want to play a third World Cup, certainly my last competition," Giroud told Europe1 Sport.

"At that point I will be 36 years old. And if I am still competitive with my club, yes, I hope to continue helping France. 

"There are still many months to go. Until then, I'll take advantage of my holidays and savour this title with my club. Then we'll see what happens."

While Giroud has World Cup, Champions League and Europa League winner's medals, his Serie A triumph represented just the second league title win of his career, and his first since winning Ligue 1 with Montpellier in 2011-12.

Having held off the challenge of rivals Inter to move level with the Nerazzurri's tally of 19 league titles, Giroud says the current Rossoneri squad have earned a place in the storied history of Milan.

"There have been great players who have passed from Milan," he added. "But it is a source of pride to have contributed to the construction of this Scudetto, eleven years later with experienced players like [Zlatan] Ibrahimovic, it is fantastic. 

"We had a great season, we were rewarded for all our efforts and yes, we are entering the history of Milan. We are still a long way from the big names in Milan, but it's nice to be associated with all these great players."

Referring to the side's incredible celebrations, Giroud added: "I think you really realise the impact it has had in Milan and Italy on the open bus, seeing these hundreds of thousands of Milanese fans who have been waiting for a while. 

"We are all very proud to bring Milan back to the top. It was a tough fight to the end, and you realise you are joining a very big club when you see all this passion around you and the class that reigns in this historic club. 

"Not everything was written when we arrived this year. The goal was to qualify for the Champions League, to get back on top of the table. The goal, initially, was not to win the Scudetto. 

"Being at Milan and fully participating in this beautiful story is incredible. It was another challenge that I needed and in addition, it led to a Scudetto. I could not have dreamed of better."

Meanwhile, Milan's successful title tilt was aided by several French players, including goalkeeper Mike Maignan and defenders Pierre Kalulu and Theo Hernandez, as well as a number of other French speakers.

And Giroud says it has been a great source of pride to contribute to the success of a side with a significant French influence.

"The Milanese dressing room has a strong French accent, so to speak, with all the French," he said. "There are also other players who speak French, like Franck Kessie, Ismael Bennacer, [Fode] Ballo-Toure. There are other French players, like [Tiemoue] Bakayoko. 

"We speak French, so it is true that there really is this slightly French team, as there was at Arsenal at the time. We are fortunate to have spent most of the season with four Frenchmen in this team and it is a pride."

Kylian Mbappe staying at Paris Saint-Germain can only be a positive outcome for French football, according to Les Bleus coach Didier Deschamps.

World Cup winner Mbappe appeared set to move to Real Madrid when his contract expired in June, but opted to sign a three-year extension with PSG.

That denied Madrid talisman Karim Benzema the chance to link-up at club level with international team-mate Mbappe, who insisted he stayed at PSG "because the project had changed" and for sentimental reasons.

Deschamps will have the attacking duo to call upon for the Nations League campaign, starting against Denmark next Friday, and the France coach was delighted to see Mbappe stay in Paris.

"It's his choice. It's obvious that he stays in Ligue 1, it's a very good thing for French football," he told reporters on Saturday.

"He is attached to the club, he said what he had to say but in being French, that can only be a good thing.

"We can grow by staying. Today the objective of PSG is the same as in all the big clubs, and to win the Champions League. It may be necessary one day to go abroad, but that is not an obligation.

"We are not going to speak in other periods when there was a lag compared to France. But today, the choice of players is not the same.

"It is perhaps less of an obligation to go abroad to accomplish beautiful things."

 

There were reports of tension between Benzema and Mbappe after the former uploaded a photo of late rapper Tupac Shakur that was deemed to be a veiled reference to betrayal.

Benzema has since denied those suggestions, insisting he does not feel betrayed by Mbappe, and Deschamps does not envisage problems between the pair when they arrive for international duty.

"From my position as coach, where I have the players live where I know from A to Z what is going on, the main thing is the group," he added.

"It can lead to misunderstandings. From a situation where we can all draw negative conclusions when they are not necessarily negative... It can turn into a misunderstanding, which does not reflect reality.

"Today with the connected world it can go very very quickly, the slightest photo goes quickly. Even if I'm not on there!"

Christopher Nkunku, Moussa Dembele and Wissam Ben Yedder will also join Mbappe and Benzema in France's attacking ranks, with Olivier Giroud missing out from selection.

Deschamps says he did not call up Giroud as he wanted to offer the likes of Nkunku, Dembele and Ben Yedder a chance to show their worth.

"I said that in relation to the attacking players, who will be supposed to have a little more playing time," Deschamps continued.

"Olivier Giroud is not with us, it's to give playing time to Moussa, Christopher and Wissam, who are with us regularly, who have had playing time and will have the opportunity to have a little more.

"If possible we will make sure to involve everyone, some will play more than others. Through the four meetings, we will make sure that they are active, so that they get stronger, to have more experience. It will give additional information on the final list for the World Cup."

Olivier Giroud has revelled in being able to celebrate Milan's "special, unique" Serie A success with two of the great Rossoneri strikers.

Giroud scored two goals on Sunday's final day of the season to help clinch a 3-0 win at Sassuolo and the Scudetto.

The triumph ended an 11-year wait for a title for Milan and a 10-year wait for Giroud, whose sole previous domestic championship came with Montpellier.

"This Scudetto with Milan has a special, unique flavour," the forward told la Repubblica.

"I won the only national title in my career 10 years ago in Ligue 1, at Montpellier. I was young. This is the triumph of maturity.

"I was talking about it with my brother. Thinking about it, I still have goosebumps, especially since I won with the Milan shirt."

Giroud's love for all things Milan made one post-title message particularly precious, as former Ballon d'Or winner Andriy Shevchenko reached out.

"We felt the emotion of the fans, who have been waiting for this joy for 11 years," Giroud added. "This club is back in its place, I'm proud of us.

"As a kid, my idol was Shevchenko – he sent me a message of compliments; he made me too happy."

Meanwhile, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, a member of Milan's previous title-winning team and now back aged 40, has also had a big role to play.

Giroud, himself a veteran at 35, said: "Zlatan is the alpha male. When he speaks, everyone pays attention.

"On the bus, he grabbed the microphone and had a personalised gift for everyone, from us players to every member of the staff. Before the games, he made videos and messages.

"He is a leader, I hope he can continue. I told him I'm proud to have played with him. For me, he is like a big brother."

The season's only real lowlight was a group-stage exit in the Champions League, meaning the target now is to kick on in Europe.

"That's the next step: to go as far as possible in Europe," the World Cup winner said.

"The group is certainly growing and if it remains the same, it can continue a winning cycle. I can't wait to go back to Milanello, [after] just a little vacation."

But Giroud also has aims again in Serie A: "[I want] to win again. I came here for the Scudetto, and it has arrived. A sportsman lives his career for moments like this.

"In the midst of such a young team, it's like I'm 20. I am living my second youth."

Olivier Giroud scored twice as magnificent Milan ended an 11-year wait to win the Serie A title with a 3-0 defeat of Sassuolo.

Milan only needed a point at the Mapei Stadium on the final day of the season to dethrone city rivals Inter and they made it mission accomplished in style.

There were no sign of nerves from the rampant Rossoneri as the outstanding Rafael Leao set Giroud up for a double and also laid on the third goal for Franck Kessie in a totally one-sided first half.

Stefano Piolo's side eased to victory in a party atmosphere in Reggio Emilia on Sunday, finishing two points clear of Inter to finally claim the Scudetto once again.


Milan swarmed all over Sassuolo from the start, Giroud forcing a save from Andrea Consigli with a bullet header before Fikayo Tomori had an effort cleared off the line.

The Rossoneri were totally dominant and a huge contingent of away fans erupted in the 17th minute when Leao robbed Kaan Ayhan on the halfway line and burst down the left before picking out Giroud, who put the ball between Consigli's legs.

Leao was also the architect for the second goal just after the half-hour mark, dispossessing Gian Marco Ferrari and pulling back from the byline for Giroud to sweep home.

Sassuolo were unable to live with Leao and he surged down the right before laying into the path of the onrushing Kessie, who fired home brilliantly with his left foot nine minutes before half-time.

Milan were in complete control and there was party atmosphere as their supporters were spared final-day tension following a dream first half.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic was given a great reception when he replaced Giroud 18 minutes from the end of what might be his last game for Milan and the striker had a goal ruled out for offside against Leao.

Hamed Traore rattled the post late on and that was as close as Sassuolo came to a consolation as Pioli celebrated with his players and staff on the touchline before the final whistle was blown.

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