Olivier Giroud “confirms” LAFC move: how many World Cup winners currently play in MLS?

Olivier Giroud “confirms” LAFC move: how many World Cup winners currently play in MLS?

AC Milan striker Olivier Giroud has confirmed long-standing rumours that he will be moving to Major League Soccer (MLS) when his contract with the Serie A giants expires this summer. The French striker is expected join up with former international teammate Hugo Lloris at LAFC, becoming the latest World Cup winner to move stateside, following Lionel Messi’s lead.

Romano, not Giroud, confirms LAFC transfer

Speaking to Milan’s official media team, the former Arsenal attacker revealed: “The next two games will be my last for Milan. My career will continue in MLS. I’m very proud of everything I’ve done here at Milan across three seasons. It’s the right time to announce it.”

Although Giroud himself stopped short of disclosing which team he would be signing for, journalist and transfer expert Fabrizio Romano reported the player would be moving to Los Angeles on a free transfer until December 2025.

Despite not making his national team debut for France until the age of 25, he has since become the country’s all-time top goalscorer (57 goals in 131 games) ahead of legendary figures such as Thierry Henry and Michel Platini, as well as star teammates Kylian Mbappé and Antoine Griezmann.

How many World Cup winners have played in MLS?

Giroud will become the fifth World Cup winner to play in MLS in the 2024 season. In addition to LAFC goalkeeper Hugo Lloris (both won the 2018 World Cup with France) and Messi (Argentina, 2022), Inter Miami also have Spain’s Sergio Busquets, who won in 2010, on their roster.

MLS’s World Cup winners

Current/future players

  • Olivier Giroud (LAFC, France 2018)
  • Hugo Lloris (LAFC, France 2018)
  • Sergio Busquets (Inter Miami, Spain 2010)
  • Lionel Messi (Inter Miami, Argentina 2022)
  • Thiago Almada (Atlanta United, Argentina 2022)

Former players

  • Blaise Matuidi (Inter Miami, France 2018)
  • Bastian Schweinsteiger (Chicago Fire, Germany 2014)
  • Kaká (Orlando City, Brazil 2002)
  • Andrea Pirlo (New York City FC, Italy 2006)
  • David Villa (New York City FC, Spain 2010)
  • Alessandro Nesta (Montréal Impact, Italy 2006)
  • Kleberson (Philadelphia Uniion, Brazil 2006)
  • Thierry Henry (New York Red Bullls, France 1998)
  • Youri Djorkaeff (New York Red Bullls, France 1998)
  • Denilson (FC Dallas, Brazil 2002)
  • Lothar Matthäus (New York/New Jersey MetroStars, West Germany 1990)
  • Branco (New York/New Jersey MetroStars, Brazil 1994)

A second member of the winning Argentina team in Qatar also plays in the US: Thiago Almada of Atlanta United.

All in all, 17 World Cup winners have represented MLS clubs at some stage in their career, with Brazilian defender Branco (New York/New Jersey MetroStars, now New York Red Bulls) the first in 1997.

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