Olivier Giroud has not scored a goal since May 6, against Liverpool, towards the tail of last season. And while that doesn’t sound all that long ago, especially considering that the new season has just started and Giroud has less than 70 minutes under his belt, he did play an entire World Cup in the meantime and managed to also not find the back of the net even once. It’s a rare feat, to play a key role as a striker in winning the World Cup but without scoring a goal. It’s so rare, one must invoke the butterfly effect to explain how earth-shattering just one goal might have been.
“Of course [I would’ve traded one of my 31 other national team goals for one in Russia]. But with so ... We might not have been world champions if I scored. Statistics can be told anything and everything. I was decisive in another way.”
Giroud was indeed decisive in other ways, ways which we’ve seen at Chelsea as well, and ways in which he emulated his fellow countryman of two decades prior, Stéphane Guivarc’h. But Giroud kept the act up for 546 minutes in 2018, almost exactly twice as many as Guivarc’h’s 277 in 1998. All told, including last night’s 66 goalless minutes against Germany in the Nations League, Olivier’s now going on over 900 minutes (15 hours) of competitive football without a goal.
That’s a big number. It’s a slightly frustrating number. But he’s not losing any sleep over it.
“It necessarily results in a little frustration . But it has largely been filled by the [World Cup] title. The collective takes precedence over individuals. I often had to do a little bit different work, make sacrifices to help the team hold the score. In fact, you have less juice to be decisive in the last gesture. After, except against Belgium in the second half, I do not have the memory of having missed many opportunities. I even issued two assists. My zero goal world does not stop me from sleeping. In the street people tell me: even if you have not scored, you have been important.”
One might imagine that the “little frustration” could eventually turn into bigger frustrations, should he continue living for too much longer in his “zero goal world”. For now, it doesn’t seem to be affecting his confidence at all — in fact, he’s recently set his sights on unseating Álvaro Morata once again as Chelsea first-choice center forward. Not many will doubt that he can fulfill that intention sooner rather than later, despite his advancing years, and perhaps even earn himself a contract extension, too.
Turning 32 at the end of the month isn’t going to stop him on any level.
“As long as I feel good, can bring something to the team and the coach (Deschamps) calls me, I am available [for the national team]. I am aware of being closer to the end than the beginning. So I enjoy every moment. I do not put myself any barrier, I do not set any limit.”
No limits. No barriers. Only bearded magnificence.
Having reached the pinnacle of the football world, he’s simultaneously fulfilled and motivated for further success.
“[Wearing the shirt with two stars is] a great pride. We deserve this [second] star. This title represents a form of Holy Grail, the ultimate dream. It is both a quest and a conquest. There is nothing more beautiful in football. It’s inscribed in us for life. One can speak of a form of fulfillment.”
-Olivier Giroud; source: Le Parisien via Google Translate
What a man.