You don’t have to be a Chelsea fan to love Olivier Giroud.
Is it his ability to produce highlight reel finishes? Is it because he seems to be criminally underrated? Is it his gloriously maintained beard? We’ve no idea, but we absolutely love the man.
The French forward is on the verge of breaking our hearts by securing a move to Milan, bringing down the curtain on a glorious nine-year spell in England.
He may be leaving England without a Premier League winner’s medal on his mantlepiece, but his time on these shores certainly hasn’t been bereft of silverware, and the memories he leaves us with will be treasured forever – alright, getting a bit weird now.
Anyway, before we start crying (again), here’s a look back at the best moments of Giroud’s time in England. So long, sweet bearded prince.
Giroud scored some huge goals for Chelsea on their way to Europa League success in 2019 including the opener against his old team Arsenal in the final.
The Blues had a couple of tricky assignments on their route to the final, but they made light work of Dynamo Kyiv in the round of 16.
Holding a 3-0 win from the first leg, Maurizio Sarri’s side travelled to Ukraine knowing they already had one foot in the quarter-finals, but Giroud wasn’t content with holding out for a stalemate.
The Frenchman produced a perfect hat-trick as his side stormed to a 5-0 win, showing his predatory instincts to score with his left and then his right before a brilliant header to complete the job.
Scoring a perfect hat-trick is decent but scoring a perfect hat-trick and then grabbing a fourth goal is even better.
Yet again Giroud was key to Chelsea’s triumphant European campaign, with his four-goal haul away at Sevilla in the group stages ensuring the Blues would finish top of their group and subsequently be afforded a so-called ‘easier’ draw in the first knockout round.
Having opened the scoring in the first eight minutes with a typically brilliant strike, Giroud doubled his and Chelsea’s tally for the night with a cute chip over the goalkeeper.
The frontman completed his perfect hat-trick with a lovely header before scoring from the penalty spot late on to complete his emphatic four-goal haul.
Having failed to secure a trophy in his first year with Arsenal, Giroud finally got his hands on a piece of silverware as the Gunners were crowned 2014 FA Cup winners.
Despite heading into the game as huge favourites, Arsene Wenger’s side fell two goals behind in the opening eight minutes after goals from James Chester and Curtis Davies gave Hull a commanding lead.
The Arsenal fightback was launched a few minutes later as Santi Cazorla pulled one back, before Laurent Koscielny levelled the scores with 20 minutes to play.
With the game forced into extra time, Giroud played the full 120 minutes as Aaron Ramsey secured a late winner to hand Arsenal the trophy.
Despite the joy of winning an FA Cup, Giroud will no doubt have been disappointed not to have got his name on the score sheet against Hull.
However, the following year he put that right as he notched his side’s final goal of the game in the dying embers against Aston Villa. The strike was a typical Giroud goal as he stole a yard on his marker before flicking a cute front-post finish beyond Shay Given.
The game had long been put to bed before that point, with Theo Walcott, Alexis Sánchez and Per Mertesacker putting the Gunners 3-0 up before Giroud added the gloss to his second FA Cup final victory.
We all remember this goal.
Obviously team achievements are great, but if you were to be asked about Giroud in ten years time your mind would instantly be drawn back to this goal.
It may not have been in a particularly high-stakes match, but Giroud’s incredible scorpion kick against Crystal Palace in January 2017 saw him win the FIFA Puskas Award.
Obviously the technique is unreal, but what’s possibly more impressive is the fact Giroud had the shear audacity to even try to pull off a goal like that, somehow smashing the ball with the heel of his boot against the crossbar and into the back of the net.
Guess what’s better than a first FA Cup win and also better than a second FA Cup win? Yep, you guessed it.
Other than Community Shields, Giroud’s trophy haul from his time at the Emirates Stadium consisted entirely of FA Cups.
Despite the Frenchman only being named as a substitute for the game, he was brought on with 12 minutes remaining and just a minute after his introduction he produced a brilliant cross to allow Aaron Ramsey to head home the winning goal.
Most footballers will never be lucky enough to lift an FA Cup but Giroud won three in four years.
Giroud’s strike against Crystal Palace was probably a little bit better than his unbelievable goal against Atletico Madrid in last season’s Champions League, but the magnitude of the occasion means this goal comes out on top.
Chelsea were handed a horrible draw in the first knockout round of the 2020/21 Champions League against Atletico Madrid.
The first leg would be key and Giroud pulled off an amazing overhead kick midway through the second half to give his team the lead – a lead they would preserve and then add to in the second leg to progress through to the quarter-final.
Guess what’s better than a first FA Cup win, better than a second FA Cup win and better than a third FA Cup win? Yep, you guessed it.
FA Cup final win number four came during Giroud’s time at Chelsea having left Arsenal for the Blues in 2018.
Unlike his first season with the Gunners, Giroud immediately got his hands on silverware in his first year at Chelsea as they were crowned FA Cup winners following a 1-0 win over Manchester United.
The France international was only withdrawn with a minute of normal time remaining and played a key role in earning his side the victory.
The year after Giroud won his first trophy with Chelsea he was at it again as the Blues secured the Europa League crown.
Giroud played the entire 90 minutes of the final and produced an absolute masterclass against his former side Arsenal. The Gunners’ defence simply couldn’t contain him and he edged his side ahead shortly after half time with a deft header.
Giroud won Chelsea a penalty later in the game which Eden Hazard converted to make the score 3-0, before linking up brilliantly with Hazard with 20 minutes to go as the Belgian rounded off the scoring by making the score 4-1 to Chelsea.
To rub salt in the wounds, Giroud was caught on camera with the trophy on the team coach proclaiming, “Thank you, Arsenal!”
Last but not least of course it’s Chelsea’s Champions League triumph.
The highlight of Giroud’s club career, the Frenchman may not have featured in the final but he had a huge hand in Chelsea’s route to the showpiece event and without his goals the famous night in Porto may never have been.
It seems like the Blues’ 1-0 win over Manchester City will be the last time Giroud is ever named on a Chelsea team sheet – and possibly the last time he’ll ever be named on an English side’s team sheet – but we can’t think of a better way for him to bow out than being crowned a European champion.