Olivier Giroud is a French soccer player who currently plays as a striker for Chelsea and the France national team. In our conversation, we talk about his longevity playing at the highest level of soccer, how his faith helps him to make the right decisions in his life and his career, what he likes to do in his free time to unwind, and of course the World Cup he won in 2018. Olivier shares why keeping a positive attitude with a strong mindset helps to overcome challenges and reach goals but also that being grateful and humble during the wins is the secret to longevity.
Olivier Giroud’s career highlights
Won 3 FA Cups with Arsenal
Goal of the year in 2017
1st Chelsea player to net 10 times in a European cup
Third-highest France Team goalscorer with 39 goals
Second-highest scorer during UEFA Euro 2016
Won the 2018 Fifa World Cup
Olivier Giroud: One of my favorite quotes is: “The road to success is always under construction.” I am a believer and my faith is a big part of me, I have Psalm 23 tattooed on my arm “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul, leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.”
This is something that testifies to my faith and the confidence I have in Christ to guide and take care of me and always be by my side. There is also a quote by Nelson Mandela: “Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up.” It shows how much mindset is important, and how to always be positive and keep a fighting spirit. It helps a lot in a career as a professional player but also in life.
I would say I am a friendly person who tends to go towards others, who is generous, with a good sense of family. I am a good friend and human relationships are very important to me. We are just passing through this world. So it is important to do good deeds. Leave a positive trace, as a footballer in my career, but also as a man in my life. My faith brings me serenity and confidence in my life and helps me to overcome challenging times and look forward. I trust God’s plans. Even if you don’t always succeed, intentions, and consistency matter.
Olivier Giroud: It’s true that at 33 years old, I am already approaching the end of my career. I have to anticipate what to do next. When you retire, everything stops suddenly and you no longer have this adrenaline from the competition. The team spirit. The good times in the locker room. And this is what you miss most according to friends and former players. That’s why I try to enjoy every moment and put everything in place to make sure that my body allows me to last as long as possible.
I’m aware that it’s going to come to an end one day. That’s why I anticipated the future by simply starting to focus on what I would like. So I imagine that, of course, I will stay in football. Simply because that’s what I know best and what I have done all my life. I don’t want to coach, at least for now. But staying in the world of football yes, most certainly! That’s why I am looking into certain professions that I might like such as sporting director.
This question came up a few months ago when I almost left Chelsea but it was not really a solution in the sense that leaving for the MLS a few months from the UEFA Euro 2020 (postponed in 2021) was not necessarily a good idea. I would like it someday and I think my family would also like the idea. My children speak English and they would adapt quickly living in the United States. Life is also made of opportunities. I trust in the future and I have always had the chance to make the right decisions that were offered to me until now.
Today we are facing a complex situation and for me in the short term, I cannot project myself on a change so I have no idea of how my future is like in the short-term but in the medium-term, why not go to the United States for a few years. As I said, I feel that I still have a few good years ahead of me. I still have my legs and above all the determination still to play at the “highest level in Europe” before perhaps a last challenge in the United States. It will simply depend on the opportunities that will be available.
That’s a good question! It depends if you mean as a professional footballer or in life. To me, to be successful is simply to be happy with my family, with my loved ones. To be proud of what I am and the person I have become. Making my own proud and the Lord who blessed me with a gift. I do my best every day of my life to make him proud, to thank him, and show my gratitude for giving me a successful career and a happy life.
Yes, from a very young age! My brother was a bit of the idol of our region and of our village when he left to join the Training Centre in Auxerre at 14 years old. He was an example to follow. I started kicking the ball as soon as I could walk. I always wanted to be like him. It is without a doubt that he has been an inspiration for me. It is a beautiful story because I am happy about sharing my success with my family and with him in particular.
There was a day when I was little, I told a friend that I would win the World Cup and he called me a few days before the World Cup Final in 2018 to remind me of this story. It was a childhood dream but at the time it seemed so far. Later, I realized that I could make a professional career but by always keeping my feet on the ground and by being aware that many are called but few are chosen. So, keeping my head on my shoulders and having the strength of character and having this personality which is mine is what gave me this mental strength to never give up and do what it takes to match my ambitions.
For me, it’s a question of education. I was fortunate to receive with my two brothers and my sister a healthy education, with values that are close to my heart. Like respect for others, compassion, hard work, and generosity too. For me, it’s important to help those who are in need in any way possible. Having good manners is always having others in mind and having good behavior. Being an example as a soccer player and as a man.
I had a few. [laughs] I would say the month of January this year. It was very stressful for me in the sense that I almost left Chelsea. I wanted to leave at some point because I was not in the coach’s plans. Once again, I trusted God and I received a prophecy. I have this habit of praying before taking any decision. I also talked about this with my mother and I think that the Lord’s plan for me was simply to stay here in Chelsea. Coach Lampard kept his word when he said he was going to give me more playing time and Chelsea didn’t want to let me go because they had no one to replace me.
I quickly forgot this unsuccessful attempt to leave and I refocused on my season. I had every interest to perform with Chelsea to be able to play but also to be happy again, and to be able to play The UEFA Euro which was very important for me. The coach kept his word when he said that he would give me more game time and I did seize that chance.
Olivier Giroud: Scoring goals! [laughs] And making my people proud.
Well, indisputably the scorpion kick goal! The ball hit the bar before getting in, making it even more beautiful [laughs]
The perfect day starts with taking my kids to school. It is important for me as a father to be there for them. It is always a special moment to drop them off and pick them up from school. Going to the training of course and having a good training game with teammates and a win! Because even in training we don’t like to lose. Also, I consider myself an epicurean, so having a good meal. After that, I like to go for a walk in the park with the family. Enjoying the sun is something that has a great effect on my mindset.
I also like to spend a lot of time with my wife, our children, and my friends. One of the hobbies of mine is to play cards and board games. Moreover, I like other sports too. I love playing tennis. Jeremy Chardy is one of my friends here in London. We went to play at Wimbledon a few months ago. As a big tennis fan, I had the chance to watch the final last year between Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic. Epic!
Olivier Giroud: The best advice I have received in my life, I would say, is when I received three prophecies in my life to try to help to make decisions and I know it was something that came from heaven, from the Lord. Therefore these are prophecies that impacted me a lot and which helped me to make certain decisions and which always proved to be helpful to make the right decision. So, I think I can say these prophecies have been very important for me and they brought me good fortune.
Olivier Giroud: With a lot of positivity, always having a positive attitude. Putting things into perspective always helps me to move forward. And I tell myself that there will be better days ahead when I am going through challenging moments.
Olivier Giroud: Simply by the fact that I know that the Lord has a plan for me and that even in delicate moments. In moments of stress or doubt, I know that there are going to be better days ahead and it’s up to me to turn the tables and keep a good mindset. Many times during my career I could have given up or dwelled on negative thoughts. It was not the case. I showed character and mental strength which characterize me today. It also allowed me to always thrive in difficult times when the circumstances are not favorable. This is the definition of a person who does not want to give up.
I met Joël a few months before UEFA Euro in 2016. We met for the first time in Clairefontaine (French team training center). It’s a beautiful story. I was there with the French team. He was there with young and Christian athletes to play football and then of course preach and pray. Joël works a lot with persecuted Christians and he’s someone who is very kind and very sensitive. His words immediately touched me. Things have always been great between us.
He enabled me to take a step towards the Lord, I who received an evangelical Christian education from my mom. He gave me more desire to want to discover the life of Christ, reading the Gospels, and introduced me thereafter to a pastor whose name is Jean Luc Sergent and who is one of the two pastors of the church of Saint Barnabas close to my house, in Kensington. Joël is someone who supports me in my faith and who is part of my life today. And I imagine that it is the Lord who wanted us to meet and who put him on my way and I am grateful.
When are we going to play soccer together? Because he speaks a lot about soccer, knows a lot about it, and I know he likes it. But I would like to see on the pitch one of these days. [laughs]
Physically it is prevention, stretching, and then warming up the muscles. So, it involves warming up with the physiotherapists and the masseurs. Physically, it is simply having a good night’s sleep the night before the match. Of course, eating well because it is important to have good sleep and a healthy diet. I’m lucky not to have injuries often so I take care of my body because, in other words, it is my “business.”
Mental preparation for me is a lot of concentration before the game, it’s little habits of reading the Word, the Bible, or Psalms before the game. Sometimes I also play scrabble on my phone to relax. I listen to music. There is also a tactical preparation with the staff. We watch videos to study the opposing team. Then of course I already visualize what I will have to face in my playing area, the defenders, the guardian.
You have to be a little “crazy” and unconscious to do this job. When you look at the environment in which you are and then you realize the challenges. Like the World Cup, when you have 67 million people behind you and who watch your every move and who support you, you must not disappoint them. The pressure is real! It’s very hard but we are trained for this. We have to be ready to deal with it, but it must be a good pressure though. Not an inhibitory pressure but I admit that sometimes your mouth is completely dry as you enter the pitch [laughs]. It is very difficult to find sleep before a very important game sometimes too.
During a match, we may miss a face-to-face with the defender or the goalkeeper. Once again, we must stay focus and say that the next time it will be yours. I have seen a lot of players especially when I was young. 15 years-old players who were promised to a golden future but who eventually did not make it or did not reach the peak of their professional careers. I keep saying that mental strength and strength of character play a big part in the success and longevity of a career. A strong mindset is almost essential to succeed at the highest level.
Olivier Giroud: Being healthy is very important for everybody but even more for a professional athlete because our body is “our business”. If we are injured, we cannot do our job. We must be careful about what we eat, our sleep, what we drink of course. Then also do a lot of prevention, involving stretching, taking care of the body. It’s important to drink a lot of water, eating a balanced diet.
I’m lucky to have my brother Romain who started his career with 40 selections with France national youth team when he was between 15 to 17 years old. He was with this generation of players like Thierry Henry, Nicolas Anelka, and David Trezeguet. Afterward, he did not reach the professional level and became a nutritionist. Today, if I have a certain knowledge of what I must eat in terms of diet it is thanks to him. Because at one point when I was younger, he would go through my kitchen. And he would say what to eat and what to avoid.
It is very important to stay healthy, physically, and mentally. To eat well especially if you want to take care of your body and have a lasting career. I have been playing professionally for 15 years. Like I said I am going to miss football. That is why I am doing my best to last as long as possible. Once again it takes a strong mindset, I am determined to go as far as possible. Although I am lucid, my body will tell me to stop at some point. However, I know that I will play until my body does not allow me anymore. Or until I am told I have to stop because I no longer have the level to perform. [laughs]
You can’t always win, that’s sports, it’s hard. I hate defeat but at some point, you have to accept it. Losing the Euro 2016 final was hard but it helped us to win the World Cup two years later!
Your legacy is the heritage that you leave to your children. It goes from the way you behave to your personality. Being an example for the youngest who all want to play for the National team someday. It is to be a good example as a dad for my kids and also as a professional athlete and teach them that there is no pain, no gain. In life nothing comes easy, I have worked hard to get where I am today and above all never set limits and always work hard because without work you cannot achieve your goals and dreams. As a matter of fact, I want to teach them the values that I received when I was younger. Respect and hard work. Always have a good attitude and keep a competitive mindset.
This is a good question. In terms of atmosphere? To talk about France, the game against Germany in 2016 at the Vélodrome stadium in Marseille, it was such an extraordinary evening, with amazing fans behind us and a very beautiful stadium.
In England, you cannot ignore Anfield and its atmosphere. This is an old stadium but they have the best fans in the world. I also played at Old Trafford. Then there is Bayern Munich, the Allianz Arena which is also magnificent.
Recently, I was impressed by the Johan Cruyff Arena of Ajax, it is a very beautiful stadium too; I’ve played several times with the national team and with Chelsea as well.
As a Christian, I would very much like to be baptized in the Jordan River in Israel. I saw that Willian, my Brazilian Chelsea teammate, did that last year and that is something that would be good for me. Traveling to the Promised Land, in Israel, I mean it would be very symbolic and meaningful for me. That would be quite incredible.
Yes, I have one in my living room so I see it every day. We each have one, a perfect replica with the same height and weight, the exact size. I had the chance of having the real one in my hands for more than an hour. To have it close, to carry it, to kiss it. It is a little different and much more beautiful than the replicas that we can have, there are many more details. Whenever I have a friend or a family member who sees it, they all get stars in their eyes.
To always believe in your dreams. Live your dreams and don’t dream of your life. It may sound dumb but it is true. Taking your destiny into your hands and never letting go of anything even when the circumstances are sometimes unfavorable or people telling you that you cannot make it or that you are not going to make it. It happened to me at a certain time and I was not discouraged. I always believed in my qualities and my abilities, always believe.
Olivier Giroud: You are in Los Angeles, so you should interview my good friend Matt Pokora who also lives in LA. He is a big soccer fan, that could be fun!
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I loved the read!! Actually did learn who he really is through this interview!
It is very impressive how humble, focused, and prepared he is! It was a pleasure to read this interview, keep it up!
Being a big fan of Giroud, that’s the best interview I have read so far. Great reading, thanks a lot for this!
Very interesting! As a French, I know Olivier Giroud and I never seen those parts of his personality in an interview !! Bravo
Olivier has a beautiful mind and heart. You can see by how he is on the pitch and in interviews after the games. He is thoughtful, generous and works hard. It was amazing to read how, why and what made him into a delightful human being. I look forward to seeing 3 little amazing Girouds in the next couple of decades. Bravo OLI
I’ve really enjoyed reading this interview. Olivier is a good guy, and a very talented soccer player. May all his dreams come true! #TeamGiroud #FiersDetreBleus
This was the best thing I’ve ever read
wow! surely Jesus is for everybody! I’m so impressed. May everyone experience this name Jesus personally