Olivier Giroud is ready to put past allegiances behind him as Chelsea take on his former club Arsenal in the Europa League final and hopes to help the Blues win more silverware.
While the France international has seen his Premier League opportunities limited this season, he has been one of the standouts of the Europa League.
Chelsea owe a large part of their place in the final to Giroud after the striker netted 10 times in 13 games in the competition.
The Blues will be tasked with defeating their London rivals Arsenal if they want to hoist the trophy in Baku on May 29, which means Giroud will be facing off against his old team-mates and supporters.
The striker headed to Stamford Bridge in January 2018 after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang moved to the Emirates from Borussia Dortmund, with Giroud ending a five-and-a-half year association with the club.
But despite that time, which included three FA Cup triumphs, Giroud is looking forward to the experience playing against Arsenal in the final.
“I always like playing against my old teams,” Giroud told the Daily Mail. “It's going to be tough, and it could be painful if it's not going the right way, but you have to put the feelings and memories aside.
“I enjoyed the years I spent there. It has been a big part of my career, my first club in England and it will always be special, but now I feel my blood is blue. The same as the national team, blue suits me well.”
Giroud suffered no issues integrating into the setup at Stamford Bridge last season, and contributed to an FA Cup triumph with Chelsea in 2017-18.
Now he’s targeting a strong finish to the season, which includes being on top of the Europa League goalscoring charts.
“I settled in quickly. I felt like part of the family straight away. I knew a few of the players and I'm a sociable person, I always try to communicate. It wasn't difficult to integrate. I always see it as a new challenge.
“I couldn't have hoped for it to be better. And now I want to win my second trophy with Chelsea. To finish as top scorer and help my team. Our target is to win a trophy every season and this is the last chance.”
Lack of playing time in the Premier League may have had Giroud looking for the exit at Stamford Bridge previously, but things have since changed.
Reports suggest Gonzalo Higuain’s future is uncertain and with Chelsea facing a transfer ban, Giroud may remain an important figure in the Blues attack.
Goal understands Chelsea will activate the one-year extension in his contract and Giroud is pleased he can remain.
“I feel very happy at the club,” Giroud added. “Maybe I need a bit more game-time but I won't give up. That's my mentality. That's how I'm made. It's not sorted yet but we are talking about another year.”