Now, the 25-year-old striker, who is set to star at Euro 2012, could cash in his new status with a £20m move to Bayern Munich or Arsenal.
Yet the man voted "the sexiest footballer in Ligue 1" by adoring French female fans insists that money is not his passion; otherwise he'd be playing for Celtic right now. Giroud refused to let his head be turned by the substantial pay packet offered by the Parkhead club in 2009-10 while he was with second division Tours. Instead, he opted to join unglamorous Montpellier – especially after Louis Nicollin, the French club's maverick owner, sabotaged Celtic's' bid by phoning him to say he would hate Scotland and that Giroud would be "bored s***less playing against Kilmarnock".
Giroud and Montpellier have been good for each other, transforming themselves from unknowns into untouchables. The club from the south of France were only formed in 1974 and last season, even with Giroud, finished fourth from bottom. This term, though, the 6ft 4in striker – who has featured on the front cover of fashion magazines – scored 21 times to become Ligue 1's top striker and help snatch the title from Paris Saint-Germain.
PSG splashed out in excess of £80m last summer in their bid to become champions, while Rene Girard, the Montpellier coach, spent just £2m, with the £1.7m paid out to Tours in 2010 to secure Giroud looking like a steal. The striker's £15,000-a-week deal is one of the lowest in Ligue 1 and he earns in a month what some of his France team-mates, based in England, make in a week.
"If wages were a priority, I would have signed for Celtic instead of Montpellier," he insisted. "For me, it's important to have fun on the pitch, to play in front of a packed house, to feel the love of the fans and, above all, to play in the Champions League."
Part of the attraction of choosing Montpellier two years ago was that the he could attend the city's famous university to finish his degree. "Studying helped my football on a mental level," said Giroud. "Besides, it's good for you to talk and think about something other than football and meet people from outside the game."
Robust, with excellent technique, Giroud will have many of the continent's top clubs studying him when he leads the line for France in the European Championships next month.
Right now, he is still cherishing the after-effects of parading the Ligue 1 trophy to thousands of Montpellier fans in the town's Place de la Comedie on Monday night. Nicollin even dyed his hair blue and orange – Montpellier colours – to keep a bet with Giroud's team-mates.
The millionaire owner has insisted Giroud is worth £50m but will likely settle for £20m, with Champions League runners-up Bayern Munich in pole position. However, it was the blunt-talking owner who wrecked Celtic's efforts to bring the striker to Scotland.
A £2.5m deal was almost agreed with Tours during Tony Mowbray's tenure, only for that phone call from Nicollin to intervene in December 2009. "He said 'why the f*** are you going over there?'" Giroud recalls. "You will be bored s***less playing against Kilmarnock. Come to our place and you will have a good laugh."
Nicollin has lived up to his promise but that does not mean he will break the bank to keep the striker, having offered his players a wage increase for next season that will take them up to £25,000-a-week. "So long as I'm president, you'll never see a Montpellier player earning £40,000 a week," he insisted.
Giroud will get to taste the Champions League, whether he moves to London, Munich or stays in Montpellier. He insists that he will not even think about a move until after the Euros. "My choice is not made yet but this is a lovely, human club."
If he's now in a rush, that is because the boy from Grenoble is a late developer. He came through the youth academy at his hometown club, then went on loan to third division Istres, where the goals started to flow. Grenoble released Giroud in 2010 when coach Mehmed Bazdarevic decided that he did "not have the level to play at the elite". Undaunted, Giroud was eventually taken on by second division Tours and 33 league goals in two seasons won the club promotion to France's top flight, and the player his move to Montpellier.
Laurent Blanc, the French national coach, only awarded him his first cap last November – facing Carlos Bocanegra in a friendly against the United States – but he is now Les Bleus' best bet for a goal in Euro 2012. "If one day I leave Montpellier, it will be a choice of sporting career, not for financial reasons," said Giroud. "And if that happens, this club will always be my priority to return."