Distin with Everton before the 2012 FA Cup semi-final.
|Full name||Sylvain Distin|
|Date of birth||16 December 1977|
|Place of birth||Bagnolet, France|
|Height||1.93 m (6 ft 4 in)|
|2001–2002||→ Newcastle United (loan)||28||(0)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only|
Distin began his career playing for French amateur sides in the CFA, and worked his way up to professional sides Gueugnon and subsequently Paris Saint-Germain. He moved to England in 2001, first joining Newcastle United on a loan move from PSG, before signing a permanent contract with Manchester City, where he spent five seasons. He then spent two years at Portsmouth where he won the FA Cup, before joining Everton in 2009. In six seasons at Goodison Park, he made 210 appearances across all competitions, leaving in 2015 for AFC Bournemouth.
After one season with Bournemouth, Distin was released when his contract expired in June 2016. He played sixteen consecutive seasons in the Premier League, with over 450 appearances in England's top flight – the most of any foreign outfield player,
Born in Bagnolet, Distin started his career at French non-league side Joué-lès-Tours before moving to Tours a year later, where he played 26 times and scored three goals. He then transferred to Gueugnon of Ligue 2, signing his first professional contract. With Gueugnon he won the Coupe de la Ligue in 2000. His performances for Gueugnon prompted Paris Saint-Germain to sign him, though his time at PSG was short-lived and after a year, Distin went on loan to Newcastle United where he made 35 appearances in all competitions.
Following the loan spell, Newcastle wanted to sign Distin permanently but he instead opted to sign for Manchester City where he could play in his preferred position of central defence, rather than left-back at Newcastle. The transfer fee was £4 million, setting a club record for a defender. Consistent performances in his first Manchester City season resulted in Distin being named the club's Player of the Year for the 2002–03 season. At the start of the 2003–04 season, Distin was named captain of Manchester City following the retirement of Ali Benarbia. In total, Distin played 207 times for Manchester City and scored six goals.
Distin left City at the end of his contract in May 2007, seeking a "fresh challenge", and moved to Portsmouth on a three-year deal. Distin was appointed vice captain by Harry Redknapp and led Portsmouth in Sol Campbell's absences due to injury. At the end of Distin's first season at Fratton Park, he won his first and only major honour in English football, the 2008 FA Cup.
In August 2009, Everton signed Distin from Portsmouth for a fee of about £5 million on a three-year contract. He was given the number 15 shirt and made his debut in a 2–1 victory over Wigan Athletic. On 17 September 2009 he scored his first goal for Everton in the UEFA Europa League against Greek team AEK Athens. He scored his second goal for Everton in the UEFA Europa League on 16 February 2010 against Sporting CP to give Everton a 2–1 win. Distin was later sent off resulting in Sporting's goal from the penalty spot after a poor touch following an equally poor Jack Rodwell pass. Distin scored his first league goal for the club against Liverpool on 16 January 2011, heading in from a corner at the start of the second half. During his 2011–12 season, Distin assisted goalkeeper Tim Howard's 100-yard goal, notable as only the fourth goal from a keeper in the history of the Premier League.
On 14 April 2012, he made a rare mistake in the FA Cup semi-final when a poor back pass gifted Luis Suárez the equalising goal for Merseyside rivals Liverpool. Everton went on to lose the game 2–1, and Distin took to Twitter to apologise to the Everton fans. However, he was named Everton's players' player of the year at the end of season awards ceremony, and then agreed a one-year contract extension to stay at the club for the 2012–13 season. On 24 January 2013, Distin signed a new one-year contract with Everton, keeping him at the club until the summer of 2014. On 23 February, he made his 400th Premier League appearance against Norwich City at Carrow Road. A few weeks later he made his 402nd appearance – more than any other foreign outfield player. Distin's centre back partnership with Phil Jagielka remained Everton's first choice through the 2013–14 season, despite the emergence of John Stones, with the club finishing fifth with their record Premier League points tally of 72. He signed a new one-year contract to keep him at the club until the summer of 2015.
Distin spent one season with Bournemouth and was released when his contract expired at the end of June 2016.
In addition to France, Distin is also eligible to play for the non-FIFA affiliated nation of Guadeloupe as his father was born in Guadeloupe. Distin was approached to play in the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup by the Guadeloupean Federation but rejected the advances as he didn't feel it would be beneficial for his pre-season routine with Everton.
In March 2013, Distin made his 402nd English Premier League appearance, the most of any foreign outfield player, but he never received any international call-ups. Despite this, Distin stated that he has no regrets over his career.
In May 2014, Distin humorously announced his international retirement on Twitter, calling his record of 0 caps for France a "wonderful experience".
|Paris Saint-Germain||2000–01||Division 1||28||0||1||0||1||0||10||0||40||0|
|Newcastle United (loan)||2001–02||Premier League||28||0||5||0||2||0||0||0||35||0|
|Manchester City total||178||5||16||1||7||0||5||0||206||6|
|AFC Bournemouth||2015–16||Premier League||12||0||3||0||1||0||0||0||16||0|
|AFC Bournemouth total||12||0||3||0||1||0||0||0||16||0|
* Doesn't include 2008 FA Community Shield appearance.
- Hugman, Barry J., ed. (2005). The PFA Premier & Football League Players' Records 1946–2005. Queen Anne Press. p. 171. ISBN 1-85291-665-6.
- "Premier League Player Profile". Premier League. Archived from the original on 31 October 2010. Retrieved 9 April 2011.
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- "Sylvain Distin: Bournemouth agree deal for ex-Everton defender. On the 1st July 2015 the one year deal was made official – legend". BBC Sport. 22 June 2015. Archived from the original on 23 July 2014. Retrieved 22 June 2015.
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- "Le Cameroun gagne pour Marc-Vivien Foé (3–1)" [Cameroon wins against Marc-Vivien Foe (3–1)]. fff.fr. 11 November 2003. Archived from the original on 5 September 2012. Retrieved 15 March 2012.
- "Distin turned down Guadeloupe". ESPN FC. 6 July 2011. Archived from the original on 23 July 2014. Retrieved 15 March 2012.
- "Distin humourously(sic) retires from international football on Twitter...without a single cap". The Independent. 14 May 2014. Retrieved 14 May 2014.
- "Sylvain Distin Career Stats". Soccerbase. 24 April 2011. Archived from the original on 13 October 2013. Retrieved 27 November 2010.
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