Olivier Giroud insisted Milan are proud to be champions of Italy after scoring a brace in their 2-1 win over Koln to start their pre-season.

Giroud effectively wrapped up the match with a first-half double as the Rossoneri’s commenced preparation for their Serie A title defence, after the club claimed their first league title since 2011 last season.

Notably after receiving Ante Rebic’s delightful backheel in transition to then chip Marvin Schwabe and finish with an open goal in the 16th minute, Giroud tapped the famed Scudetto on his shirt, awarded to the reigning league champions of Italy.

While expressing his positive feelings towards Milan’s preparations, the 35-year-old admitted his celebration was a specific one post-match, intended a message to the club’s fans.

“I think the Scudetto looks beautiful on this red-and-black shirt,” Giroud said afterwards. “I wanted to send a small message to our fans that we are really proud to be the champions of Italy.

“It’s always good to start with a goal. We did very well in the first half and the guys finished off the work well. I’m very happy as it’s always a good thing to win the first game, although it’s just a friendly.

“We’re doing a really good job at Milanello, we’re working very hard and there are some heavy sessions, and this heat makes it difficult but we did well today with good team spirit, playing with solidarity. We’re almost ready, not 100 per cent, but I feel fine and the guys too.”

Despite Franck Kessie’s departure for Barcelona and reportedly losing out on Renato Sanches, Milan have arguably bolstered an already strong midfield in the off-season, with returns from loan for Yacine Adli and Tommaso Pobega.

While Pobega looked strong with a starting appearance, Adli impressed after coming on for the second half, with Giroud believing he will be a positive addition for the reigning champions.

“I think it’s important to do the right things to give him a warm welcome,” the veteran striker said. “He’s a good guy, and knows he has a lot to learn here, but I was impressed by his quality, his assists, his pace and his vision.

“He’s a good addition to the team. He needs to calm himself, but he’s a good guy and I’m happy for him that he can be here at a great Milan.”

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