French striking legend with another low blow on Arsenal star Giroud

Jean-Pierre Papin clearly prefers Karim Benzema to Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud.

Former European footballer of the year and goal machine Jean-Pierre Papin’s opinion is always valued in France - hence why he is employed as a commentator and pundit by various media sources.

And his voice was always going to be one we heard plenty from in the wake of the French national teams dramatic qualification for the World Cup against Ukraine on Tuesday night.

The one time most expensive player in the world has been speaking about the win - in which a double from Mamadou Sakho and a solitary Karim Benzema goal (although there is still a question of offside for the Real Madrid strikers goal) saw Les Bleus complete a remarkable turnaround of fortunes - and book their place on the plane to Rio next summer.

And Papin was in high spirits after the game, in particular praising and announcing his pleasure at Karim Benzema’s performance:

“Didier Deschamps has aligned youth like Pogba, Varane , Sakho who have teeth that line the floor. Them, they wanted! It did not fool anyone. Benzema? It is a fact of the game, that's all. It is the fault of the referee. I think it's great that it is thanks to him that we qualify. The story is beautiful. "

Of course he is referring to the fact that at the beginning of the season n0body would have predicted the Real striker starting this game ahead of Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud.

Giroud came out the blocks like a phenom this season but has been out of nick for the past month or so - meanwhile Benzema has rediscovered his best form and was therefore given the opportunity to lead in this crunch game.

And Papin clearly prefers it that way.

The former Marseille striker has been critical of Giroud before - and has also persistently stated that France should do everything in their power to get Benzema into the team in some capacity.

Now it seems as though Benzema is back to being first choice for France - and Papin will be one man pleased to hear it … even if Giroud is not.

image: © ronnie macdonald

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