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'Competitor' Giroud wants regular playing time at Chelsea

'Competitor' Giroud wants regular playing time at Chelsea
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The 32-year-old is out of contract at the end of the season.

Olivier Giroud has cast doubt over his Chelsea future after insisting he has no intention of settling for the role of Premier League substitute.

The France World Cup winner continued his fine Europa League form by hitting a hat-trick in Thursday's 5-0 demolition of Dynamo Kiev, which completed an 8-0 aggregate win.

But the 32-year-old striker, whose Stamford Bridge contract expires at the end of the season, has been restricted to just six top-flight starts under Blues head coach Maurizio Sarri and has played only 56 minutes in the league in 2019.

Ukraine Soccer Europa League
Giroud celebrates scoring Chelsea's opener in Kiev (Efrem Lukatsky/AP)

He is now playing second fiddle to January signing Gonzalo Higuain after being kept out of the team by Alvaro Morata earlier in the campaign.

Asked if he was willing to accept a peripheral role due to his age, Giroud replied: "No. No chance. I'm a competitor.

"I have been through a lot of tough moments in my career. I just want to enjoy playing football after winning the World Cup last summer.

"I want to play every single game and to be happy on the pitch. But I am not picking the team, the manager makes some choices.

"I play in the Europa League and I am happy to help the team to go through the stages, step by step. The target is clearly to win it. The championship (Premier League) is another thing, you know?

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Posted by Chelsea Football Club on Thursday, March 14, 2019

"Now we don't know about the future – who can say? We'll see."

Chelsea, who have been drawn to face Slavia Prague in the last eight of the Europa League, hold an option to extend the former Arsenal player's deal by a further 12 months.

His treble in the Ukrainian capital means he is the tournament's top scorer with nine goals in as many appearances.

Despite reaching the latter stages of his career,  Giroud remains driven and feels he is capable of continuing at the top level for at least another few seasons.

Giroud was part of the France team which won the World Cup last summer
Giroud was part of the France team which won the World Cup last summer (Owen Humphreys/PA)

"I'm 32 but I'm still young. I feel very well physically," he continued.

"When I do the tests on the treadmill I have to say that I have one of the best tests (at the club).

"I have the motivation to carry on. Some of the boys asked me why I didn't retire with the national team after the World Cup, but I'm still hungry and I know how much I will miss football after my career.

"I want more and more. I think I have a few nice years in front of me."

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Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri on March 3, 2019
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