Olivier Giroud is a player of style. A leader at the top of the pitch, his 2015/16 season at Arsenal is one of grafted form. In lacing up the PUMA evoPOWER 1.3, we sit down with the man of the moment to discuss his relationship with the tools at his feet.
The boots we use and the pitches we play on have changed so much in a short space of time, does it feel like brand are needing to innovate quicker than ever?
“Yeah it’s the same for everything in society though – phones, computers, everything you see. The game needs to move as quickly as the world which you live in so yeah, brands like PUMA are doing well. As they do, they need to listen to players to be able to adapt for example with the changes of the pitches because there are more and more synthetic pitches that are being played on so boots will need to evolve with that. We’re lucky because we don’t need to complain about pitches at Arsenal that’s for sure – they’re really nice here.”
What were your first impressions when you first saw the evoSPEED 1.3?
“I think they are lighter, the shape is better. I mean, it fits better to the foot. When I was testing them the PUMA guys explained to me about the change of the studs and how it helps with traction and and stepping in which is obviously means a lot especially when you shoot and pass the ball. Also, because I’ve got sensitive ankles, I like it when they are light but I also like it when you get support as well and I can feel well supported from the heel in these.”
You get to see boots like this before anyone else, before they’re released – is it exciting to be able lace them up on the pitch finally?
“Yeah definitely it’s good. There has been a lot of work done by the PUMA guys on these boots so I’m firstly very proud to have been able to test them and now to play in them. Hopefully I’m going to score as much goals if not more than I did with the last one.”
When PUMA come to you and say we’re developing a new boot, do you like to get involved in that side of things?
“Yeah, definitely. These are going to be a big part of my work routine, they are my tools, they are the object I use everyday and without them I cannot play so it’s like a driver with a car or a chef without their utensils, so yeah, that’s why I do like to be involved.”
What’s it like when you bring a new pair of boots into the changing rooms, do other players come and have a nosey?
“It’s always good. We always discuss and show each other new boots. We tend to analyse them together and go through the new things we like.”
Do you have a personal or nostalgic connection to football boots like we all do when you get a new pair?
“Yeah, first of all when I was young I would always be looking at the aesthetic of the boots. You want to be playing in the same boots that the big stars are wearing, but yeah, now I am more looking for comfortability. I go with the colours that PUMA give which are sometimes a bit wild and a bit crazy.”
Can you see parts of your personality in the evoPOWER?
“Perhaps. I like to think I am a big and powerful player so yeah, because they have a strong shape but also a fun colour and I like to have fun in my life. There is a saying that it doesn’t cost a penny to have a smile, so yeah, I like to have fun and these boots reflect that. Away from the boots, I can recognise myself in PUMA maybe because they are strong and very professional but they still have fun with their colours and offer a lot of flair.”
What’s it like coming to London Colney on a daily basis? Is it a second home for you.
“Yeah, it’s very much a second home. We come here to play great football, it’s where we learn the Arsenal way and we need very nice pitch to make that happen so yeah always a big thanks to the ground staff here.”
Looking to your preparations off the pitch. You’re a well groomed gent, is that something you take great pride in?
“To be honest, I don’t think too much about my actual appearance when I’m on the pitch. I do the same as anybody else in making sure I look OK but I don’t think about it too much. It doesn’t take me too long to prepare for a game. It’s all about being focused on the game for me. During some games I have a bad hairstyle because of the weather or going in for a header but I’m more than happy with a bad hair style if it means a good performance!”
When it comes to memorabilia, do you tend to keep hold of boots and shirts you’ve scored in?
“I used to give them to my friends and to charities to give pleasure to other people. I did keep the pair of boots I scored my first professional goal in though. I keep them locked away from eyes really.”
Finally, as a football player you have to face a lot of questions on a regular basis. Are there ever any moments though when you get to take a step back and the great elements about being a professional player hit you?
“Oh yeah. I am so incredibly grateful for what has happened to me in my career. At a young age, I know there is a big pool of players who are called but very few get selected to make a career out of the game. Probably out of 25 kids who are picked up at the age of 11 or 12 there may only be 1 that makes it through to become a professional player. That’s why a lot of dreams are broken.”
“I do always try to say to the younger players, do keep on your studies and work hard outside of football too because then there are options if football doesn’t quite work out. But yeah, I say thanks every day and I’m most pleased to make my family and friends proud of me and I’m always looking to represent the club in the best way I can. I think ultimately, I am lucky to have the best job in the world so I know that and I keep reminding myself of that to stay on the level.”
The PUMA evoPOWER 1.3 is available from Pro-Direct Soccer. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.