mls

French soccer star Giroud announces signing with LAFC

Yukihito Taguchi-USA TODAY Sports
World Cup winner Olivier Giroud announces his departure from AC Milan and intention to join LAFC of Major League Soccer.

LOS ANGELES — Olivier Giroud said Monday he will leave AC Milan, the Serie A club he’s been a pivotal part of since 2021, to join LAFC of Major League Soccer.

The French soccer star signed an MLS Designated Player deal through 2025 with an option for 2026. He plans to join LAFC during the league’s summer transfer window.

“I will be playing my final two matches with Milan and will continue my career in the MLS,” the 37-year-old striker said in an emotional and heartfelt video interview on his personal and AC Milan’s social media platforms. “I’ve given everything I can for Milan, from being 35 years old and now I’m nearly 38.

“For me and also my family, it’s the right time for a different life experience to Milan.”

Known as “Oli” by fans of the Rossoneri, Giroud will play his last match as his team seeks to finish in second place in the league. They have remaining matches against Torino and Salernitana after already securing a place in the next UEFA Champions League cycle.

The veteran striker has scored 48 goals and assisted on 20 in his 130 appearances for the Italian giant. But his role extends well beyond scoring, stepping up to do everything, including playing goalkeeper.

Giroud joined Milan in 2021 after leaving Chelsea, winning the Champions League, Europa League and FA Cup during four seasons with the Blues. Before then, he spent six years at Arsenal, scoring 105 goals in 253 games and winning three FA Cups.

As France’s all-time scorer with 57 goals in 131 matches, Giroud is expected to be on coach Didier Deschamps’ roster in the upcoming UEFA Euros before joining LAFC in the summer for the final third of the season.

Giroud’s impending arrival comes at an ideal moment for LAFC, who are struggling to retain their place in a competitive MLS Western Conference. The unceremonious disappearance of Carlos Vela whose contract was never re-signed, culminated with a power vacuum that became evident in the dysconnectivity between the midfield and front line.

Despite two two-goal matches this season, Denís Bouanga’s scoring streaks have been stymied by opposing teams who have become accustomed to his play (he is scoreless in 9 of 14 matches). LAFC’s attacking piece has thus been unsteady this season scoring two or fewer goals in most of their matches.

While the news of Giroud’s plan to join LAFC in the MLS summer transfer window was reported earlier this year, the move was made official Monday, including photos from his agent on social media.

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