Olivier Giroud, despite celebrating his 37th birthday on September 30, continues to shine as one of Europe’s top strikers. The French international has been a standout performer for AC Milan this season, scoring six goals and providing three assists in Serie A. Only Lautaro Martinez from Inter Milan has managed to score more goals in the Italian top flight. As Milan prepares for a crucial match against Paris Saint-Germain, we’ll take a closer look at Giroud’s performance this season.
Giroud had a blazing start to the Serie A campaign, notching four goals and three assists in Milan’s first seven matches. He did experience a brief three-game spell without contributions, but he bounced back with a brace in a 2-2 draw against Napoli last month. Currently, Giroud shares the second spot in the scoring charts with Victor Osimhen and Roma loanee Romelu Lukaku, an impressive feat considering his limited involvement. Despite ranking outside the top 250 in Serie A for both touches and passes completed, he has been remarkably efficient in front of the goal, missing only one significant chance and hitting the target with 12 of his 17 attempts.
However, while Giroud has excelled in Italy this season, he has struggled to replicate his success in the Champions League. In the previous season, he scored five goals in 12 European appearances as Milan reached the semi-finals, but he hasn’t found the net in three group stage matches in the 2023-24 season. Nevertheless, Giroud boasts a respectable record in the competition with 23 goals in 61 matches, and he particularly enjoys facing PSG, having scored four times in eight encounters against the French champions.
In his quest to end his European goal drought, Giroud will face his fellow French teammate Kylian Mbappe. While there were reports of tension between them during Euro 2020, Mbappe has since praised Giroud for his ability to bring out the best in his teammates, which Milan’s Rafael Leao often benefits from at the club level. Ahead of the previous winter’s World Cup, Mbappe acknowledged Giroud’s role, stating, “I have a lot more freedom here [with France]. The coach knows that there is a No9 like Olivier who occupies the defense. Me, I can walk around, go into space, ask for balls. In Paris, there isn’t that, it’s different.” France manager Didier Deschamps also commended Giroud’s longevity and determination, as he is the all-time leading scorer for Les Bleus with 54 goals in 127 appearances.
Milan’s manager, Stefano Pioli, will be counting on Giroud’s elite mentality to lead the Rossoneri to victory against PSG at San Siro as they strive to keep their hopes of advancing in the knockout stages alive.