Olivier Giroud has revealed what motivated him to help Chelsea beat former club Arsenal in the Europa League final last year.
Giroud was snapped up by Chelsea when he was allowed to leave Arsenal in January 2018, and went on to win the FA Cup in his first season at Stamford Bridge before claiming Europa League glory in the following campaign.
The 2018 FIFA World Cup winner opened the scoring in the final against Arsenal with further goals from Pedro, and two from Eden Hazard, secured a 4-1 win for Chelsea.
Reflecting on the game a year after the event, Giroud told Chelsea’s official club website: “That final against Arsenal was obviously very special for me emotionally. When I saw that we were going to face Arsenal in the final, I knew it was going to be special.
“On top of that, it was only a year after I left. I have quite a lot of friends over there, people who work in the club’s offices. That was extra motivation for me and I knew that it was going to be a high-pressure match.
“You definitely prepare for the match in a special way, in a different way, because you know that they know you inside out, and they know that I know them well too.
“You have to plan for the match but not play the match before it’s happened. You have to think ahead. I thought that if I had a one-on-one with Petr Cech, who knows me really well, or a penalty, I would have to shoot there and not somewhere else.
“I knew that he knew me really well. I was also going to play against my friend Laurent Koscielny, who has also known me inside-out for years because we started together at Tours in 2008.
“It was a very special moment but it was like extra motivation for me because I wanted to show them that I still had some energy in me and some good years left in me.
“I scored, I got an assist and I won the penalty so quite a lot of good things happened there for me because I was involved in three goals out of the four that we scored.
“It was like in a dream because I couldn’t have imagined that it would go so well, so perfectly for us. I wanted to win things at Chelsea – that’s why I was even more motivated that night – but winning against your old club like that…”
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