ARSENAL legend Emmanuel Petit insists Olivier Giroud has the “same mentality” as Cristiano Ronaldo as he slammed his Premier League critics.
Giroud shone bright with France during the 2022 World Cup as he became his country’s record goalscorer with 53 goals and surpassed Gunners legend Thierry Henry in the process.
The AC Milan star’s World Cup run ended in a sour note as Les Bleus lost the final to Argentina on penalties after a stunning 3-3 draw but he still carved his name in the history books.
The striker didn’t have it easy as he received plenty of criticism during his nine-year stint in the Premier League despite his success with Arsenal and Chelsea.
The 36-year-old joined the Gunners in 2012 and registered 105 goals as well as 41 assists in 253 appearances, which led to three FA Cup honours and as many Community Shields.
The Frenchman moved to Chelsea in 2018 where he amassed 39 goals as well as 14 assists in 119 matches and won the FA Cup, Europa League as well as the Champions League.
Petit always believed in Giroud and insists he has proven his “disrespectful” critics wrong thanks to his resolve and work ethic.
The former Arsenal and Chelsea star added that the reason he got so much stick is because he wasn’t a “romantic” on the pitch like Ronaldo.
But the France legend is adamant that Giroud still has the same character as the Manchester United legend because he never gave up and always delivered.
Speaking to Mega Casino, Petit said: “For Giroud, nothing has been given to him. Everything that he has achieved in his career is because of his work, his mental strength and his resilience.
“Every time you try to show him the door, he will go to the window. If you show him the window, he will come back to the garage, he will always find a way to come back and to prove you wrong.
“For me, [Kylian] Mbappe, [Lionel] Messi, Ronaldo, they are amazing players and a big example for everyone, but being a sportsman is not all about having extraordinary ability, being a sportsman is about showing different qualities as well, qualities Giroud has in abundance.
“Humility, hard work, he doesn’t speak out or cause problems. He doesn’t harass people on the pitch. He keeps himself to himself and is very humble.
“When you speak to people about Giroud, even his friends, they all say the same thing about him – he will surprise you. He keeps going and going and going.
“Last year, he wasn’t picked for the France team for months because [Karim] Benzema was back and there were problems within the camp after the European Championships; egos, family.
“All of a sudden he was shown the door by France, but because of all of the injuries that happened before the World Cup, [Didier] Deschamps had no choice but to put him in the squad.
“What he has done, where he is fighting against almost everyone and constantly proving to people that he is good enough – the career he has had, it’s amazing. He deserves everything that has come his way.
“It was not so long ago that I could hear people saying he doesn’t deserve the medals he has won in his career. What!? Why?
“I heard that in England too from former players, pundits on TV. I thought that was so disrespectful to Giroud. Have these guys forgotten what it means to be a professional footballer?
“It’s not all about skills on the ball, scoring spectacular goals, it’s the resolve as well. Giroud is an example for everyone that wants to be a professional footballer.
“I’ve always supported him, even in the middle of a storm, when he wasn’t playing, wasn’t scoring because I knew the guy. I knew his mentality and his quality.
“He will never give up. Never. He will do whatever it takes to reach his targets. For me, this is the definition of a professional sportsman.
“Can you imagine if Giroud had the quality of Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo? I think he has the same mentality as Ronaldo – Giroud is so strong in his mind – he is almost like a robot because he has so much belief and determination. You have to show respect to Giroud.
“He wasn’t a romantic on the pitch, that is why [he was criticised]. Sometimes he would miss big chances, but he kept going. I remember when he went to Chelsea, [Frank] Lampard was in charge and he had spent most of his time on the bench, but he decided to bring him back in for the last seven or eight games. He saved Chelsea’s season.
“Then he went to Milan, where he won the title. Now he is at the World Cup and he has just become France’s record goalscorer. If that’s not enough to convince you that he doesn’t deserve all the success he has had, then I have nothing to say to you.”
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