‘I never had a dispute with him’: Olivier Giroud insists bitter rivalry with Karim Benzema was ‘created from scratch’ despite Real Madrid striker’s ‘go-kart’ jibe as he admits striker’s exile from France team is ‘kind of a mess’
- Olivier Giroud has insisted he has never had a dispute with Karim Benzema
- The Real Madrid striker once compared the Chelsea forward to a go kart
- But Giroud said that the pair’s supposed rivalry was created by the media
- The 34-year-old added Benzema’s exile from the France team is a shame
Olivier Giroud says Karim Benzema’s absence from the France team is a shame and ‘kind of a mess’ but insists he has never fallen out with his fellow striker.
Benzema has been kept out of the national side since 2015 because of an alleged involvement in a plot to blackmail Mathieu Valbuena but Giroud has prospered in his absence – helping Didier Deschamps’ team in the World Cup in 2018.
And the Real Madrid striker has been critical of Giroud’s involvement in Les Blues’ squad in the past. When asked to rate himself against the Chelsea forward on social media, he said: ‘You don’t confuse F1 with go-karting … and I know I’m F1.’
Olivier Giroud says he has never had a dispute with fellow France striker Karim Benzema
However, Giroud, who is set to earn his 100th cap in a friendly against Ukraine on Thursday, is insistent there has never been any bad blood between the pair and that the supposed rivalry was created by the media.
‘Clearly, it’s a shame, because Karim remains an impressive player for his qualities,’ Giroud told RMC Sport when asked about his absence.
‘Me, I never had a dispute with him, history wanted us to be opposed. I’ve always had a good understanding with him, a lot of mutual respect … at least from me towards him.
Benzema has not played for France since 2015 and has been critical of Giroud’s involvement
‘I think it’s a shame everything that has happened, it’s kind of a mess, but now we have to move on. The English envy us a lot over this young generation which is growing up.
‘At the time, when I was unfairly criticised because of Karim’s absence, it hurt me.
‘I continued to prove that I deserved my place and that this supposed rivalry with Karim was created from scratch by some people.
The Chelsea striker said Benzema’s absence is a shame and that their rivalry is made up
‘I had nothing to do with it, we just play the same position. It happened but I reacted well to these difficulties.’
Giroud is set to consider his Chelsea future in January after falling behind Timo Werner and Tammy Abraham in the pecking order.
The 34-year-old has made just one substitute appearance in the Premier League this season but says he wants to fight for his place.