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 professional footballer. During a successful professional career he represented Marseille, A.C. Milan (winning the UEFA Champions League with both) and Chelsea. On the International stage he was a star of the France national football team squad, with whom he won the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000.
Born as Odenke Abbey to Ghanaian parents, Marcel had his name changed when his mother married the head of the French Consulate in Accra who adopted all the children (the former professional footballer Seth Adonkor, seven years his elder, was a half-brother of his). He arrived in France as a four-year-old and, following Adonkor's lead, 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 residing in Ghana. Nicknamed "The Rock", he is considered one of the most accomplished players of his generation, and one of finest French defenders, who stoodout for his leadership throughout his career. He combined his aggression, his 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 made the controversial decision to play for France, instead of his parents home country of Ghana. He has often said that he feels totally French and while having ties with his native country, never even considered playing for another country 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 Euro 2004. However, that record was broken during the 2006 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 a daughter and three sons.
|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
- "Desailly career stats". Football Database.eu. Retrieved 13 July 2012.
- "The five players Fabio Capello made superstars". The Daily Telegraph. 16 December 2007. Retrieved 16 December 2007.
- "Desailly plans to join Lazio next summer". The Independent. 21 December 1999.
- "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.
- "MasterCard All-Star Team of the 1998 World Cup". http://www.fifa.com. FIFA. 10 July 1998. Retrieved 23 April 2015.
- "BBC Sport: Euro 2000 Profile - Marcel Desailly". http://news.bbc.co.uk/. BBC Sport. Retrieved 14 April 2015.
- "Desailly confirms intention to coach Ghana". BBC Sport. 2 December 2007.
- "France honors World Cup winners – Government gives Legion of Honor to players, coaches". CNN/SI. 1 September 1998. Retrieved 20 July 2006.
- "Décret du 24 juillet 1998 portant nomination à titre exceptionnel". JORF (in French) 1998 (170): 11376. 25 July 1998. PREX9801916D. Retrieved 10 March 2009.
- "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.
- "ITV signs up Patrick Vieira and Francois Pienaar for World Cup football coverage". The Daily Telegraph. 28 May 2010.
- "Ambassadors and Supporters". 1GOAL. Retrieved 22 February 2012.
- "National ambassadors". UNICEF. 3 February 2012. Retrieved 20 February 2012.
- "Marcel Desailly Pro Soccer". Wireless IGN.com. 26 April 2004. Retrieved 7 October 2008.
- "Desailly Chelsea stats". Bounder.Friardale.co.uk. Retrieved 13 July 2012.
- "Marcel Desailly – Matches in European Cups". RSSSF. Retrieved 17 April 2013.
- "Desailly". National Football Teams. Retrieved 25 January 2013.
- "Desailly Qatar league stats". RSSSF. Retrieved 25 January 2013.
- "Marcel Desailly – Century of International Appearances". RSSSF. Retrieved 13 July 2012.
- "Marcel Desailly". EU-football.info. Retrieved 25 January 2013.
- "A.C. Milan Hall of Fame: Marcel Desailly". http://www.acmilan.com. Retrieved 1 April 2015.