Olivier Giroud: Off-field controversy did not affect Arsenal performances

The French striker was at the center of a media storm but believes he used the allegations as an "outlet" to get back to his best.
Olivier Giroud says allegations about his private life have not affected his performances for Arsenal.

A British national newspaper published provocative pictures of the French striker at the Gunners' team hotel ahead of their match with Crystal Palace on Feb. 2.

Giroud later issued an apology to his wife and Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger — who claimed the matter would be dealt with internally — but he believes the scandal did nothing to put him off his game, as proven by the fact he scored two goals in the four games following the controversy.

“It was difficult to manage. At such times, we need to focus on the field and think about what I do best: my job, simply,” he told RMC Sport. “I think I have a strength of character that allows me to make sense of things. Yes, it affected me but it was not seen on the field. I have used it as an outlet.

“This is where I need to be and do some things and continue to take a lot of pleasure. That happened pretty well on these four games where I scored two goals.”

But Giroud readily acknowledges that, despite his recent club form, he has fallen behind Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema in the France pecking order with the World Cup looming.

“Today, yes, I am feeling like a substitute,” he added. “I had my chance but I was not very decisive even if I feel that I have participated in the victory in Belarus. Karim has regained his form and I'm here to bring something more.”

However, regardless of his apparent “substitute” status, Giroud is confident Les Bleus can go all the way in Brazil this summer.

“Why not think about winning the World Cup? For now, it remains a dream but you have to provide the means,” he said. “There is a lot of competition; many teams that dominate the football like Brazil or Spain. This World Cup will be hotly contested but we have our chance. Especially since I do not think we're light years to teams like Brazil.”