Andre-Pierre Gignac says he has no intention of retiring despite his advancing years and is already eyeing a place in the France Olympic squad for the Paris Games in 2024 – when he will be 38.
The Tigres UANL striker, one of three over-age players in the France squad, has impressed in Tokyo despite their elimination at the group stage, ending the competition with four goals in three matches.
Thoughts are already starting to drift towards a home Games in just three years’ time and Gignac is ready to be a part of it, stating his belief that Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann could join him.
What was said?
Gignac was unsurprisingly selected to be captain of a youthful French side made up largely of U23 players.
The Games represented a chance for him to earn international honours having won the last of his 36 senior caps in 2016.
He ended their Olympic campaign with four goals, including a hat-trick in a thrilling 4-3 win over South Africa. However, heavy defeats to Mexico and hosts Japan meant Les Bleus bowed out at the group stage on what was their first appearance at an Olympics for 25 years.
Reflecting on their early exit Gignac accepted they were not quite good enough, particularly defensively, to make it through to the knockout stages.
“It was a great adventure, but when the step is too high, it is too high," he said.
“Before the game against Japan, we believed. I thought we could do it but when you see their team set up, it's complicated.
“When you conceded eleven goals in three games, it's too hard.”
At 35, many will see this as Gignac’s last chance of international glory, though he doesn’t see it that way.
With a home Games on the horizon the former Marseille forward is ready to pull on the blue shirt again – and reckons Barcelona’s forward Griezmann and PSG superstar Mbappe will join him as over-age players in Paris.
"I will play until I'm 40, but I see Antoine, who is a lot behind the France team on Twitter, who is positioning himself [for a place in the squad]," he added.
"Kylian said he wanted to do them and we'll see. Who will be the third?”