Wiltord training with Rennes in 2008
|Full name||Sylvain Wiltord|
|Date of birth||10 May 1974|
|Place of birth||Neuilly-sur-Marne, France|
|Height||1.74 m (5 ft 9 in)|
|1996–1997||Deportivo La Coruña||0||(0)|
|1996–1997||→ Rennes (loan)||28||(8)|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 14 April 2012.
Highlights of his club career included his four-season spell at Arsenal, with whom he won two Premier League titles and two FA Cups. He also won the Ligue 1 title in each of his three subsequent seasons at Lyon.
With the French national team, Wiltord earned 92 caps and scored 26 goals. He played at the 1996 Olympics, two FIFA World Cups and two UEFA European Championships. Wiltord was part of their teams which won Euro 2000 and reached the final of the 2006 World Cup.
Early career, Rennes and Bordeaux
Wiltord's career began at Rennes, where he emerged in 1993–94 with eight goals in 26 games. He then joined Spanish La Liga club Deportivo de La Coruña briefly in 1996, where he continued to plunder goals on loan for one season before moving back to France with Bordeaux.
Wiltord was signed by English club Arsenal, for what was then a club record fee of £13 million in August 2000, weeks after scoring the stoppage-time equaliser in the Euro 2000 Final. He played 175 times for the Gunners, occasionally pairing with Thierry Henry up front or otherwise starting either from the bench or on the wing. The record fee was not surpassed for the next eight-and-a-half years until Arsenal paid £15 million for Russian winger Andrey Arshavin in January 2009.
The highlight of Wiltord's Arsenal career was scoring the winning goal over Manchester United at Old Trafford, a 1–0 win which clinched the 2001–02 Premier League title as Arsenal achieved The Double on 8 May. He scored a total of 49 goals for the club, and was part of Arsenal's 2003–04 "Invincibles" season, though he did not feature much towards the end of the campaign and near the end of his Arsenal career. His final season brought 12 league appearances, enough to qualify for a title winners' medal.
In June 2008, Wiltord was voted 33rd in a list of 50 of the greatest Arsenal players of all time.
When his contract with Arsenal expired in the summer of 2004, Wiltord trained for two weeks with Rennes and rejected a move to newly promoted Premier League team West Bromwich Albion. On 31 August, he signed for Lyon on an initial two-year contract. Moving to Lyon, Wiltord found further success, winning three Ligue 1 titles and reaching the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League in successive seasons.
Wiltord signed for Rennes in August 2007 on a two-year contract and with an opportunity to join the coaching staff when he finished his professional career.
He joined Marseille on 15 January 2009 for the remainder of the Ligue 1 season. On 17 May 2009, he scored Marseille's only goal in a 3–1 loss to Lyon at home. He was released at the end of the 2008–09 season, and was considering a possible move to either America, UAE or perhaps retirement.
Wiltord made his debut for France in a 2–0 victory over England on 10 February 1999 at Wembley Stadium. For France, Wiltord has been capped 92 times, scoring 26 goals. His most memorable goal for Les Bleus was scored in dramatic fashion in the last seconds of the UEFA Euro 2000 final against Italy to tie the match 1–1 and bring the game to extra-time. France then won the final from a golden goal scored by David Trezeguet.
Wiltord remained in the national squad for the 2002 World Cup, where France endured a shocking first round exit without a single win or scoring a single goal, the worst ever performance by a defending champion at the World Cup.
Wiltord also took part at UEFA Euro 2004 in Portugal, having played seven games in the qualifying campaign with a fantastic return of six goals. However, a poor performance from Les Bleus saw a shocking quarter-final exit at the hands of eventual surprise winners Greece.
Most recently, Wiltord was part of Raymond Domenech's France squad that played in the 2006 World Cup final against arch-rivals Italy. Wiltord scored France's first penalty in the ensuing penalty shootout following the 1–1 draw, but France would lose the shootout 5–3.
It is noteworthy that Wiltord is the most capped French international football player among those that did not take part in Les Bleus' triumph at the 1998 World Cup.
|Club performance||League||Cup||League Cup||Continental||Total|
|France||League||Coupe de France||Coupe de la Ligue||Europe||Total|
|1992/93||Stade Rennais||Division 2||2||0|
|1997/98||Girondins Bordeaux||Division 1||34||11|
|England||League||FA Cup||League Cup||Europe||Total|
|France||League||Coupe de France||Coupe de la Ligue||Europe||Total|
|France national team|
In 2015, he competed on the TF1 reality show Dropped, in which sportspeople were dropped by helicopter into inhospitable environments. The day after his elimination from the programme, there was a mid-air helicopter collision which killed ten, including three contestants—swimmer Camille Muffat, boxer Alexis Vastine and sailor Florence Arthaud. He wrote on Twitter after the crash, "I'm sad for my friends, I'm trembling, I'm horrified, I have no words, I don't want to say anything."
Wiltord was sponsored by sportswear company Nike and appeared in Nike commercials. In a global Nike advertising campaign in the run-up to the 2002 World Cup in Korea and Japan, he starred in a "Secret Tournament" commercial (branded "Scopion KO") directed by Terry Gilliam, appearing alongside football players such as Thierry Henry, Ronaldo, Edgar Davids, Fabio Cannavaro, Francesco Totti, Ronaldinho, Luís Figo and Hidetoshi Nakata, with former player Eric Cantona the tournament "referee".
- French Ligue 1 Top Scorer (1): 1998–99 (22 goals with Bordeaux)
- French Footballer of the Year (1): 1999
- FIFA Confederations Cup Top Scorer (1): 2001
- Premier League Goal of the Month (1): August 2002
- Premier League Player of the Month (1): August 2002
- "FIFA World Cup Germany 2006: List of Players" (PDF). FIFA. 11 May 2010. p. 11. Retrieved 7 January 2014.
- "Player Profile: Sylvain Wiltord". Premier League. Retrieved 31 July 2012.
- "[Depor, Past Players (and Coaches): since 1991". Deportivo-la-coruna.com. Retrieved 28 April 2011.
- "Arsenal clinch Double". BBC News. 8 May 2002.
- "Games played by Sylvain Wiltord in 2003/2004". Soccerbase. Retrieved 17 November 2013.
- 2 mins 28 seconds (12 June 2008). "Gunners' Greatest Players 33. Sylvain Wiltord , News Archive , News". Arsenal.com. Retrieved 28 April 2011.
- "Wiltord seals Lyon move". BBC News. 31 August 2004.
- "Wiltord secures Marseille loan , Sky Sports , Football , Transfer Centre , Done Deal". Sky Sports. 15 January 2009. Retrieved 28 April 2011.
- "Quel avenir pour Sylvain Wiltord ?". Footmercato.net. Retrieved 28 April 2011.
- Former Arsenal striker joins Metz; Ontheminute.com, 31 January 2010
- ; mercato365.com, 18 July 2011
- ; Andy Brassell's Twitter page, 11 June 2012
- "Sylvain Wiltord". National Football Teams. Retrieved 28 April 2011.
- "Sylvain Wiltord – Goals in International Matches". Rsssf.com. Retrieved 28 April 2011.
- "Former Arsenal star Sylvain Wiltord shocked by Argentina helicopter crash". The Daily Telegraph. 10 March 2015. Retrieved 10 March 2015.
- "A lighter shoe, cooler kits, a faster ball, a Secret Tournament – every touch counts". NikeBiz (Nike). Retrieved 21 July 2012.
- Cozens, Claire (3 April 2002). "Cantona hosts World Cup with a difference". The Guardian (Guardian News and Media). Retrieved 21 July 2012.