Olivier Giroud, a professional French soccer player and faithful Christian, shared a video message on Aug. 1 addressed to 40,000 young French people at World Youth Day (WYD) in Lisbon, Portugal, during an event called “The Time of the French.”

“You 40,000 French people, united by faith in Jesus, how beautiful you are! You who announce the good news, you are a sign of hope,” the 36-year-old striker said.

He added: “One thing that I know and that is certain: God is waiting for you and he wants to speak to each of you. Do not be afraid to listen to him and to speak to him, so pray.”

Giroud went on to say that while soccer is a big passion of his, his love for Christ is just as important as his professional soccer career, and he thanked God “for what he has done and [that he] continues to do great things in my life.”

“I seek to be his disciple, to serve him, at the very heart of my passion as a footballer [soccer player] and also in my daily life. Following Jesus gives me joy, strength, serenity; therefore, peace,” he added.

Giroud currently plays for AC Milan and the French national team and has been very open about his faith throughout his career. In an interview in 2019 with a French Christian magazine called Jesus, he said: “I try to speak about my faith whenever I can. I feel I have to use my media profile to talk about my commitment to Jesus Christ and the matters that concern me.”

Tattooed on the inside of his right arm are the words “Dominus regit me et nihil mihi deerit,” which is Latin for “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want,” a reference to Psalm 23.

The Frenchman encouraged the WYD pilgrims to become “athletes of God.”

“Listen to his word, dare to cast your nets … become missionary disciples, serenely take your faith in Jesus, invite God into your life. Work for the unity of all. We have received the same baptism, we walk together in the risen Jesus.”

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He thanked the youth for their “presence” and “enthusiasm.”

Giroud concluded by asking the young people a question: “If Jesus was standing in front of you, what would you like to say to him?”

Giroud’s full video message in French is below: