Giroud grateful to be learning from Ibrahimovic
Olivier Giroud is enjoying his "healthy competition" with Zlatan Ibrahimovic and says his AC Milan team-mate is pushing him to become a better player.
Ibrahimovic has made a big impact in his second spell with Milan since returning to the club in January 2020, scoring 36 goals in 66 appearances in all competitions.
That includes a return of 33 goals in 52 Serie A outings, which is the eighth-most of any player in the division over that period.
He has been restricted to just 12 starts in all competitions this campaign, but he has again proved his worth by finding the net eight times.
With his strike against Udinese in December, Ibrahimovic joined Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo in scoring 300 career league goals across Europe's top five divisions.
Amid reports in Italy that Milan are prepared to offer him another contract until the end of next season, Giroud is grateful he has the chance to learn from the 40-year-old.
"Playing with him is something I see as a challenge, something that pushes me every day," Giroud told reporters.
"It's an opportunity to have him as my partner, to learn something more.
"He's an example for many strikers and when I was young I loved him, both on the pitch and for his strong character, and for the fact that he's demanding every day.
"It's a healthy competition between us."
Giroud has made a steady enough start to life at San Siro after joining from Chelsea last July with six goals and one assist in his first 20 appearances, 11 of those being starts.
Those six goals have come at a rate of 0.46 per 90 minutes, a tally bettered only by Ibrahimovic (0.67) among Milan players.
The former Chelsea striker has spent various spells on the sidelines through injury and illness but now feels ready to start contributing more as Milan target a Scudetto success.
"I had some unusual physical problems. I got COVID in September after what was a good start, and then I had back problems," he said.
"I forced it too hard and got hurt after testing negative. I was in the squad for Liverpool, played and got hurt. The pain lasted six weeks and I didn't play for a while.
"After that, I had ankle and ischium problems for a month. In the meantime, I did everything to keep fit, I took all preventive measures.
"But now I feel very good and have the possibility to play without pain. That is a luxury when you are a professional player and above all, when you're 35."
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