Within the bubble of the Premier League, Olivier Giroud certainly divides opinion. A technically gifted target man, the Frenchman's qualities have been as obvious as his limitations at times during his stint in England for both Arsenal and Chelsea, though there is little doubting one thing about the former Montpellier marksman. He's absolutely pivotal for his country.
Scoring twice last night on what was his 100th cap for Les Bleus against Ukraine, the 34-year-old took his international tally up to an impressive 42 goals - equalling and then surpassing Michel Platini. Next in his sights is the grandaddy of them all, Thierry Henry, who notched 51 and current incumbent of the goalscoring record for the two-time world champions.
So, is it time we put a touch more respect on Giroud's name? After all, this is a World Cup winner and a man who started all but one of their games in Russia 2018, brought it to act as a focal point for the likes of Kylian Mbappe and Antonie Griezmann. Typically for Giroud, even an achievement such as that didn't come without criticism given he didn't have a shot on target throughout the tournament but it was his work off the ball in helping others that made him so valuable to Didier Deschamps' side.
Praised by Griezmann for his ability and described by Eden Hazard as the 'best target man' in the world, those within the game clearly respect him than his reputation amongst at least certain sections of support in England.
Alexandre Lacazette, Anthony Martial and Karim Benzema (who infamously compared Giroud to a go-kart while describing himself as an F1 vehicle) are just some of the more celebrated names he's kept out of the team. With a goalscoring record of almost 1 in 2 for France and a pivotal role in helping their ridiculously talented assortment of forwards have space in which to roam, it absolutely is time we start recognising Giroud for what he is - an elite level international striker.
Here's to you, Olivier. The Premier League may never truly understand you but we don't have to, it's the international game in which you have truly made your mark.News Now - Sport News