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Ligue 1 Conforama Legend: Olivier Giroud

Publish on 03/03/2019 at 00:00 - S. WILLIS

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The league's top scorer in Montpellier Hérault SC's title-winning campaign of 2012, Olivier Giroud was the cover boy for French football's most miraculous underdog story of recent times…

A true Ligue 1 Conforama legend, the 32-year-old, now of Chelsea in the English Premier League, is still an avid follower of France's top flight.

"It's always nice to watch my mates, whether that's the ones from the national team or from Montpellier," Giroud told the Ligue 1 Show on beIN SPORTS. "I'm still very attached to the club, so I watch them closely."

Giroud scored 21 goals, including two hat-tricks, to fire Montpellier to their sole French title in a season that has gone down in Mediterranean folklore.

'Still talked about'

"Even now, I still bump into people from Montpellier here in London, and they talk to me about it," Giroud explained. "Thinking back to those days, they really are extraordinary memories. I still talk to some of the people who work at the club, [chairman] Laurent Nicollin for example, who I'm very close to, so it's something that's part of the club's history, and will stay with me forever."

These days, Andy Delort and Gaëtan Laborde are the men looking to follow in Giroud's footsteps at the Stade de la Mosson. There's some way to go before Montpellier challenge for the title again, but seven years on from his departure, the French international believes his old side have what it takes to earn success.

      Chasing the same goal: Can Laborde and Delort help Montpellier to the heights of Giroud's day?

"They're a young group," Giroud continued. "The scouting team have managed to bring in a number of ambitious players who are relishing the challenge. There is real chemistry present in the team, thanks to the influence of the older players, particularly Vitorino Hilton who I send my regards to. He's a remarkable guy, exemplary in how long he's been playing for. I think he's there to act as an older brother to the younger guys who are full of energy and who are surprising people. They still have a chance of qualifying for Europe, I hope they can make it, it would be great to see Montpellier back in European competition.

Shirt collector

"I can't wait to go back there, to visit the stadium and see the fans again. Equally I recently asked Vito for one of his shirts, because I wanted a shirt with Nicollin emblazoned on the back, that's something that means a lot to me."

Since leaving Ligue 1 Conforama, the big forward has gone on to become the fourth highest scoring French international, notably leading the line for les Bleus as they lifted the FIFA World Cup last summer.

       Paul Pogba, Giroud and Co. were crowned World champions with victory over Croatia last July

From la Mosson to the very top, Olivier Giroud is perhaps Montpellier's proudest export.

"I'm so proud, for my close friends and my family, and for all of France because we'd been waiting 20 years for it!" Giroud said of his country's triumph in Russia last summer. "I regularly see Robert Pires here in London, who won it back then [in 1998], and now I can safely say we're at the same level!"