France’s World Cup winning striker Olivier Giroud may cause many a debate over the quality of his football talent but he credits his success as a footballer to religion even as he says that he understands how difficult it is for open homosexuality to thrive in the sport.
Giroud who won the 2018 World Cup with France this July despite not scoring for the world champions during the duration of the tournament spoke to French newspaper Le Figaro where he said he is the “happiest man” for having realised his childhood dream of playing professional football.
“I pray regularly and when I have a complicated choice, I place it in the hands of Christ,” he said. “In fact, I have a good star above my head. All that happens to me is a bonus.”
The striker who plays his club football in England also said that in the summer of 2017, he prayed a lot before making a decision to stay with his then club Arsenal. Six months later, he would be on the move to Chelsea.
Giroud was responding to an interview by Le Figaro which is uses a “The day that…” format where the interviewee answers questions on many topics that relive days in which they experienced different circumstances.
When asked the question “”The day I discovered that homosexuality was taboo in football”, Giroud pointed to 2014 when retired former German international Thomas Hitzlsperger came out as gay. Giroud said that day was “very emotional.”
“This is where I told myself that it was impossible to display his homosexuality in soccer. In a cloakroom, there is a lot of testosterone, rooming, collective showers … It’s tricky but it’s like that,” he added.
Giroud then went ahead to say that he understood the “pain and the difficulty of guys coming out” before saying that he was “ultra-intolerant” on the matter, citing situations at his former clubs Montpellier and Arsenal where he participated in LGQBT awareness.
“There is still a lot of work in the football world on this subject, to say the least.”
In other questions, the French striker portrayed his Chelsea teammate Eden Hazard as the best footballer in the world. He also said that when he stopped studying in university and signed a professional contract with a football team is when he started an ascent that saw him reach another social level.
Giroud also cited the day France won the 2018 World Cup and the days each of his three children were born as the moments that will come back to him on his deathbed.
The Chelsea forward is reported as identifying as being a Roman Catholic and is married to Jeniffer with whom they have a daughter and two sons.
He regularly features on lists titled “sexiest footballers.”
Giroud spots a tatoo on his arm which is the Latin rendition of Psalm 23:1, “Dominus regit me et nihil mihi deerit” (“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want”). In 2011, he told the French newspaper L’Express that each of his tattoos have a meaning, signifying values that are close to his heart such as love, friendship, courage, strongness and family.
In 2014 however, he had to issue a public apology after British media reports linked him with having an affair with a model. After initially denying that the model had stayed in his hotel room, photos of him in his underwear taken by the model were leaked.
In his apology, Giroud admitted that it was a mistake to have invited the model into his hotel room but denied that he had committed adultery.