Olivier Giroud was forced to field questions about his past and his future.
As he reported for international duty with France, the issue of his supposed rivalry with Karim Benzema was dredged up again from five years ago.
Then there were questions about his next move after falling behind Timo Werner and Tammy Abraham in the striker pecking order at Chelsea. Surely, at 34, it was time to give up the fight and move to the MLS or something.
Olivier Giroud is poised to make his 100th appearance for France in the coming internationals
The Chelsea striker played an instrumental role when his country won the World Cup in 2018
But Giroud looks destined to a season warming the bench at Chelsea after falling down the pecking order behind new signing Timo Werner and Tammy Abraham
Meanwhile, in the present, Giroud is poised to make his 100th appearance for France in the next week, a monumental achievement for any footballer.
And, as those topics of interrogation suggest, he remains one of the most chronically under-appreciated players anywhere. Plus ça change.
Yet it’s fair to say that Giroud is admired far more in his home country than in England, where he has come to be seen as something of a relic or a throwback. The last of the centre forwards in a game of acceleration.
Consequently, his game time at Chelsea has become increasingly squeezed.
Frank Lampard has handed him just 17 minutes of Premier League action so far this season, the rest of the time has been spent warming the bench and his prospects aren’t likely to improve anytime soon given the team’s attacking strength.
But Giroud is remarkably stoical about the situation. ‘I’ve written a book called ‘Always Believe It’ so I’m not going to go anywhere without a fight,’ he said this week.
‘I am convinced that I have a role to play at Chelsea. We will see in January.’
Giroud remains determined to fight for his place in the Chelsea team this season
Giroud scored a series of crucial goal to ensure Chelsea finished in the top four last season
France top goalscorers
51 – Thierry Henry (123 games)
41 – Michel Platini (72)
40 – Olivier Giroud (99)
34 – David Trezeguet (71)
31 – Antoine Griezmann (80); Zinedine Zidane (106)
30 – Just Fontaine (21); Jean-Pierre Papin (54)
He couldn’t have made a stronger case to Lampard during the final stages of last season. Having spent most of the campaign on the sidelines, Giroud regained favour just before the Covid-19 pause.
In Chelsea’s final 12 matches of the season – either side of that three-month suspension – he scored eight goals and played an instrumental role in ensuring they qualified for the Champions League.
To those who watch him regularly, his return of a goal every 83 minutes in Premier League action last season came as little surprise. Giroud found the net with one in every five shots fired.
While he’s never been the most exciting player to watch – you won’t see Giroud glide past three defenders like his France colleague Kylian…