Olivier Giroud has told his AC Milan team-mates of his pride at returning to Chelsea in the Rossoneri colours.
Giroud stopped his colleagues midway through a Stamford Bridge walkabout, to tell them how buoyant he feels being back in west London on Milan duty.
Milan could put Chelsea in all sorts of trouble with a win in London in Wednesday night’s Champions League Group E encounter.
Chelsea slipped to a chastening defeat at Dinamo Zagreb the day before Thomas Tuchel was sacked, with Graham Potter than overseeing a 1-1 home draw with RB Salzburg.
And France star Giroud admitted geeing up his team-mates with a passionate address, ahead of his first return to Stamford Bridge since leaving for Italy in summer 2021.
“I told my team-mates right now when we were walking around the pitch that I’m very proud to come here with the great Milan to play in the Champions League, to play in our colours and to defend our badge,” said Giroud.
“It’s going to be an atmosphere completely worthy of a Champions League game. Chelsea have played in big games and won big games. But we’re ready for it.
“The pitch here is also wonderful. So I think it’s going to be a fantastic game.”
Giroud proved a pivotal performer in Chelsea’s Europa League triumph in 2019 and also the Champions League win in 2021.
The 36-year-old also helped the Blues win the 2018 FA Cup in his first season after leaving Arsenal.
Giroud claimed Serie A glory with Milan last season and is now determined to help Stefano Pioli’s side push forward in Europe’s top tier.
The World Cup-winning striker admitted apologising to boss Pioli for his lack of inside knowledge on Chelsea now that Potter is in charge instead of his former boss Tuchel.
“I hope to have a good welcome, because I spent a nice three a half years here with trophies,” said Giroud. “I left the club in good terms, so let’s see. Hopefully.
“I know the boys, I played there with so many of them, but as the coach said they changed the manager so I don’t really know how they are going to play.
“I could have helped him more if it was Tuchel, because I know how he’s doing tactically.
“They are in a new project and I think it’s just a matter of time to get back to their best level.
“So I think I’m not worried about that; they will do well in the Premier League.”
Giroud will go head-to-head with another ex-Arsenal forward in Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang on Wednesday night. But the former Montpellier striker insisted there is no battle or rivalry with the Gabon striker.
“I only care that my team wins,” said Giroud. “He’s a very good striker, I know him very well.
“Of course we both played for Arsenal but that’s the only similarity between us, because we are completely different players.
“But if we win tomorrow, it’s not going to be a question of one player making the difference. We’ll win with our team spirit and the entire team behind us.”