Desailly in 2011
|Full name||Marcel Desailly|
|Date of birth||7 September 1968|
|Place of birth||Accra, Ghana|
|Height||1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)|
|Playing position||Centre Back / Defensive Midfielder|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
Marcel Desailly (French pronunciation: [maʁ.sɛl də.sɑˈji]; born Odenke Abbey; 7 September 1968) is a retired France international footballer, who played mostly as a defender and was a member of the France squads that won the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000. During a successful career at club level, lasting from 1986 to 2006, Desailly won UEFA Champions League medals with both Marseille and Milan, and also played for Nantes and Chelsea, among others.
Marcel Desailly was born as Odenke Abbey on 7 September 1968 in Accra, Ghana, the son of Ghanaian parents. He had his name changed when his mother married the head of the French Consulate in Accra, who adopted all of her children (the former professional footballer Seth Adonkor, seven years his elder, was a half-brother of his). The family relocated to France when Desailly was four years old. Following Adonkor's lead, he began his career at FC Nantes. There, as part of the famed FC Nantes youth programme, he played alongside a young Didier Deschamps, who was a very good central back, who became his closest friend. Desailly turned professional in 1986, two years after his half-brother had died in a car accident. In 1992, he moved to Olympique de Marseille, where he reunited with Deschamps, and won the UEFA Champions League the following year. In 1994, while playing for AC Milan, he again won the Cup (scoring in the final himself), being the first player to win the Cup in consecutive seasons with different clubs. During his time in Milan he won two Italian league titles, in 1994 and 1996. Although he prefers to be a sweeper and central defender, he played as a defensive midfield for Milan.
Desailly then moved to the English club Chelsea in 1998 for £4.6m, where he captained the side and played sweeper and centre-back until the end of the 2003–04 season. It was at Chelsea that Desailly formed a formidable partnership with Frank Leboeuf.
Desailly was snapped up by Qatari outfit Al-Gharafa in 2004. He was appointed as the club captain and under the French coach Bruno Metsu they won the Qatar League in 2005. He then joined Qatar S.C., leading them to second place in the league before retiring from professional football.
In 2014, Desailly had meet the Football Association of Malaysia and said he was ready and willing to coach the Malaysia national football team. He also pointed that it is now up to the football association whether to hire him or not.
Marcel Desailly is currently[when?] residing in Ghana. Nicknamed "The Rock", he is considered one of the most accomplished players of his generation, and one of the finest French defenders, who stood out for his leadership throughout his career. A quick and powerful player, who excelled in the air, he combined his aggression, and ability to read the game, as well as his physical, mental, and defensive skills, with a notable confidence on the ball, which also allowed to play in midfield throughout his career. In 2004, he was named by Pele in the FIFA 100 as one of the world's greatest living players. He is currently a Laureus Academy member and OrphanAid Africa Lifetime ambassador to Ghana and France (since 2005). He was mentioned as a possible candidate for the coaching position of Ghana's national team. He has since then pulled out of the race to coach the Ghana National Team, although the option is likely to keep coming up. He has opened (June 2011) a sports facility in Ghana called Lizzy Sports Complex, in memory of his late mother, geared to young players and children in particular. Many African National teams use the centre to camp and prepare for international tournaments.
Desailly has often said that he feels totally French and while having ties with Ghana, never even considered playing for a country other than France. This stance was restated in his autobiography, published in 2002. He made his international debut in 1993, but was not established as a first choice defender until 1996.
He was an important part of the French team which won the 1998 World Cup, albeit being sent off in the final. Like other team members, he was made Chevalier (Knight) of the Légion d'honneur in 1998.
Two years later success continued, as France won Euro 2000. After the tournament, Desailly was made captain of the national team, following the retirement of Didier Deschamps. In 2001, he led France to victory in the Confederations Cup.
In April 2003, Desailly surpassed the record for the number of appearances for the French team, a number which eventually reached 116 when he announced his retirement from international football following 2004 UEFA European Football Championship. However, that record was broken during the 2006 FIFA World Cup by Lilian Thuram.
Desailly's autobiography, Capitaine, was published in France by Stock in 2002.
Following retirement, Desailly became a pundit for BBC Sport predominantly giving his opinion from the touchline at both half time and full-time as opposed to residing in the studio with Alan Hansen, Alan Shearer and Martin O'Neill.
He also became a spokesperson for sports betting website Betclic.
Desailly is a supporter of the 1GOAL Education for All campaign. He is also the UNICEF national Goodwill Ambassador for Ghana. He is the Lifetime Goodwill Ambassador for his personal Charity OrphanAid Africa, that helps abandoned children in Ghana. He is a member of the Laureus Sports for Good Foundation.
Desailly is a member of the Ga ethnic group. He is married to Virginie and has 4 children.
|France||League||Coupe de France||Coupe de la Ligue||Europe||Other||Total|
|Italy||League||Coppa Italia||Supercoppa||Europe||Other[n 1]||Total|
|1993–94||AC Milan||Serie A||21||1||1||0||0||0||6||2||3||0||31||3|
|England||League||FA Cup||League Cup||Europe||Other[n 2]||Total|
|Qatar||League||Emir Cup||Sheikh Jassem Cup||Asia||Other||Total|
|2005–06||Qatar SC||Stars League||7||0||–||–||7||0|
|France national team|
|Desailly – goals for France|
|1||6 September 1995||Stade de l'Abbé-Deschamps, Auxerre, France||Azerbaijan||1–0||10–0||Euro 1996 qualifier|
|2||25 January 1998||Stade Vélodrome, Marseille, France||Norway||3–3||3–3||Friendly|
|3||7 June 2001||Suwon World Cup Stadium, Suwon, South Korea||Brazil||2–1||2–1||2001 FIFA Confederations Cup|
- Includes 1993 European Super Cup, 1994 European Super Cup, 1993 Intercontinental Cup and 1994 Intercontinental Cup
- Includes 1998 UEFA Super Cup and 2000 FA Charity Shield
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- "Chelsea claim FA Cup glory". BBC News. 20 May 2000.
- "Desailly eager to coach Malaysia". The Star. 26 February 2014. Retrieved 27 February 2014.
- "Desailly Ready To Take Up Job Of National Coach In Malaysia". Bernama. 26 February 2014. Archived from the original on 26 February 2014. Retrieved 27 February 2014.
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- "France honors World Cup winners – Government gives Legion of Honor to players, coaches". CNN/SI. 1 September 1998. Retrieved 20 July 2006.
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- "NBA champion Tony Parker Signs with Poker Site BetClic". Onlinepoker.net. 26 February 2010. Retrieved 13 June 2010.
- "World Cup 2010". ITV. 2 June 2010.
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- "Ambassadors and Supporters". 1GOAL. Retrieved 22 February 2012.
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- "Desailly Qatar league stats". RSSSF. Retrieved 25 January 2013.
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- "Marcel Desailly". EU-football.info. Retrieved 25 January 2013.
- "Marcel Desailly". Eurosport.com. Retrieved 31 December 2015.
- "A.C. Milan Hall of Fame: Marcel Desailly". acmilan.com. Retrieved 1 April 2015.
- "M. Desailly". Soccerway. Retrieved 31 December 2015.
- Christopher Davies (15 April 2003). "The Premiership elite selection 1993-2003". The Telegraph. Retrieved 17 December 2015.
- "1996 team of the tournament". UEFA.com. 18 November 2011. Retrieved 30 December 2015.
- FIFA XI´s Matches - Full Info
- "UEFA Euro 2000 team of the tournament". uefa.com. UEFA. 1 January 2011. Retrieved 31 March 2015.
- "Pele's list of the greatest". BBC Sport. 4 March 2004. Retrieved 15 June 2013.
- "France - Footballer of the Year". RSSSF. 8 Jan 2010. Retrieved 16 October 2015.