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Veteran Giroud ‘hungry’ for Champions League success with Milan

Milan forward Olivier Giroud. Photo: Isabella Bonotto/AFP

Olivier Giroud said Tuesday that he has a young man’s hunger for European success ahead of Milan’s all-Italian Champions League semi-final with Inter.

Veteran France striker Giroud won the competition with Chelsea in 2021 and wants to continue his Indian summer at Milan with another triumph after winning the Serie A title last season.

Milan host local rivals Inter on Wednesday in the first leg of the biggest local derby the Italian city has seen for nearly two decades.

“I’m motivated more than ever. For me it’s a big opportunity to win it again. Almost 37 years old but still hungry like a young boy,” Giroud told reporters. 

“In football it’s never good to underestimate the others. I know what I’m talking about. At that level every single game is very tough and it’s on small margins, small details, that you win it.”

Giroud was a key figure in Milan’s league title win this time last year and this season has netted five times in his team’s impressive run to a blockbuster derby in the last four.

He scored the decisive goal which sent Milan through at the expense of Napoli, who last week dethroned the seven-time kings of Europe as champions of Italy.

‘Just want to dream’

Milan are gunning for their first Champions League final since the last time they won the competition back in 2007.

“We are focused on Inter and we just want to dream,” added Giroud.

“This club is special… Last year I couldn’t hope for better than to win the Scudetto first year and in the second year still be in the race for the top four and in a semi-final of the Champions League. I’m very proud of this team.”

Coach Stefano Pioli is sweating on the fitness of star forward Rafael Leao, who suffered a thigh injury in Milan’s home win over Lazio.

The Portugal winger has started every single one of Milan’s ten Champions League matches and played the crucial pass for both goals in the last-eight triumph over Napoli.

Milan have won only one of the eight matches this season which Leao has either missed through injury or not started.

“Today he did the work that he was scheduled to do, tomorrow we’ll try to push him and on the basis of what happens in the morning we’ll decide what to do,” said Pioli.

“Tomorrow it will be Rafa and the doctors who tell me how he is. If he’s well we’ll pick him, if he’s not, we won’t.”

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