Olivier Giroud scored 105 goals in 253 games for Arsenal but after Harry Kane suffered an injury at Tottenham, the Frenchman was forced to make a tricky decision
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- 19:00, 14 Oct 2021
- Updated19:29, 14 Oct 2021
Olivier Giroud has revealed how Jose Mourinho wanted to sign him for Tottenham.
But former Arsenal striker Giroud admitted he could not have gone through with the deal in January 2020 because it would have felt “weird” to play for his old club’s great rivals.
Giroud was at Chelsea at the time, Tottenham wanted a centre forward after Harry Kane was injured and Mourinho wanted to go for the France star.
World Cup winner Giroud, 35, now with AC Milan, said: “Tottenham was interested and Jose Mourinho was interested. But I was so close to signing for Inter, for Lazio, I was desperate for game time.
“Tottenham was there but, to be honest, it was not a clear option because the race for the Premier league top four made it difficult for anything to happen.
Olivier Giroud was approached by Jose Mourinho to join Tottenham
“But also in my heart, as a proper ex-Gunner, and as we always say: ‘Once a Gunner, always a Gunner.’ It would have been very weird to have played Tottenham. That’s why it didn’t happen.”
Despite Tottenham and Mourinho wanting him, Chelsea also feared selling Giroud would strengthen a top four rival.
Giroud wants to follow Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Paolo Maldini by playing into his 40s – but already has his sights set on his next career move.
Giroud, who joined AC Milan in the summer, said: “There are so many good examples. Like here in Milan, Paolo Maldini led a good way of life, played until his 40s, Zlatan is so professional and I pay attention to that and it’s massively important.
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“But while my body remains in good shape and my motivations stay high, I still want to play. While that remains, I want to carry on. After that, I want to stay in football and maybe opportunities will present to me.
“I would like to become a sporting director or something like that because football is all I’e known in my life. It’s more common for former players in Italy, but that’s not why I came to Milan and I think it will get more and more common in England anyway.”
Giroud has revealed how he became a “scapegoat” with fans even wanting him to get injured.
Giroud became public enemy No1 as he was playing for France while Real Madrid superstar Karim Benzema was left out in the cold for five years.
AC Milan star Giroud said: “I was a scapegoat, having a hellish time, a punchbag for French fans to have a go at. I’ve even seen a kid standing outside our hotel holding up a banner that read: ‘Giroud – please get injured.’
“A part of France was missing Benzema, they did not accept me being there and it felt like a big injustice. He was not not there because of me. I was just a different man who happened to play in his position. It was tough to live with.
“I was not responsible for his absence in the national team. It was kind of just a media thing. I never had a problem with him. I enjoyed playing with him.
“We were not best friends obviously but there was never really a problem. He exposed himself in the media when someone asked him who was better, him or Giroud? He said he was a Formula One and I was a go kart.
“But my reaction was the same as always – I was laughing. It was a good joke and I didn’t have resentment. I never had a problem with him and I think he would say the same.”
Always Believe by Olivier Giroud, out now from Pitch Publishing, priced £19.99.
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