Olivier Giroud says his supposed rivalry with Karim Benzema "was created from scratch" after the pair's performances for France were compared.
Real Madrid forward Benzema has been in international exile since 2015 after an alleged involvement in an attempt to blackmail his former Les Bleus teammate Mathieu Valbuena.
Benzema has shone at club level in the years that have followed, but he has missed out on taking part in successes such as France's 2018 World Cup triumph.
Giroud – who is in line to win his 100th international cap in Wednesday's friendly against Ukraine – has benefited from Benzema's absence by becoming Didier Deschamps' preferred No.9, with the Real Madrid star often being critical of his replacement's performances in the media.
When asked on social media to rate himself against Giroud, Benzema responded: "You don't confuse F1 with go-karting, and I know I'm F1."
However, Giroud insists there is no bad blood between the pair – at least as he sees it – and says that the rivalry was simply invented when he first came into the team as Benzema's replacement.
"At the time, when I was unfairly criticised because of Karim's absence, it hurt me," the Chelsea forward told RMC Sport, via Goal.com.
"I continued to prove that I deserved my place and that this supposed rivalry with Karim was created from scratch by some people.
"I had nothing to do with it, we just play the same position. It happened but I reacted well to these difficulties."
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Giroud – who has only figured once for Chelsea this season – went on to claim that France's World Cup winning generation is envied "a lot" in England.
"Clearly, it's a shame, because Karim remains an impressive player for his qualities," he continued.
"Me, I never had a dispute with him, history wanted us to be opposed. I've always had a good understanding with him, a lot of mutual respect … at least from me towards him.
"I think it's a shame everything that has happened, it's kind of a mess, but now we have to move on. The English envy us a lot over this young generation which is growing up."
Who would you prefer in your team: Giroud or Benzema? Have your say in the comments below
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