Marcel Desailly

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Marcel Desailly
0Full Name Marcel Desailly
0Date of Birth 7 September 1968
0Place of Birth Accra, Ghana
0Position Central defender
0Chelsea career 1998-2004
0Debut 15 August 1998
0Games (goals) 222 (7)
0Other clubs Nantes
Qatar SC

Marcel Desailly (born 7 September 1968 in Accra, Ghana) is a former French international defender, who played for Chelsea between 1998 and 2004. Desailly had a distinguished career in French and Italian club football, in addition to winning the World Cup and European Championships with the French national side. An FA Cup-winner at Stamford Bridge, he was also club captain for the latter part of his Chelsea career.


Before Chelsea

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 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.

Chelsea career

Desailly signed for Chelsea in the summer of 1998, joining for a fee of £4.6m. He arrived at the club as one of the stars of world football, having won the World Cup with France earlier in the summer. He made his debut in the opening league match of the 1997-98 season and immediately established himself in the side, forming a formidable defensive partnership with compatriot Frank Leboeuf, with whom he would win the European Championships in 2000. A few weeks earlier, Desailly had won what would turn out to be his only major honour in England, beating Aston Villa in the FA Cup Final. Desailly made 222 appearances in all competitions and scored 7 goals. Among the Frenchman's goals was a dramatic injury time winner against Tottenham Hotspur in 2001 after a late Teddy Sheringham strike seemed to have earned the North London side a point, and a crucial equaliser against Liverpool on the final day of the 2002-03 season; a match in which Chelsea needed to avoid defeat in order to qualify for the following season's Champions League competition. While at Chelsea Desailly won 74 international caps, a record that has only been surpassed by Frank Lampard.[1]

After Chelsea

Desailly signed for Qatari side 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. Following retirement he has worked as a pundit for various media organisations, notably in England, where he has worked for both the BBC and ITV.


Despite being born in Ghana, Desailly chose to represent France, having moved to the country as a young child.

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, although he was sent off in the final. Along with his teammates, 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. The record was broken during the 2006 World Cup by Lilian Thuram.

Chelsea statistics

Season Prem FA Cup League Cup Europe Other Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
1998-99 31 0 6 0 0 0 8 1 0 0 45 1
1999-00 23 1 4 0 0 0 16 0 0 0 43 1
2000-01 34 2 2 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 39 2
2001-02 24 1 8 0 3 0 2 0 0 0 37 1
2002-03 31 2 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 33 2
2003-04 15 0 1 0 1 0 8 0 0 0 25 0
Total 158 6 22 0 5 0 36 1 1 0 222 7


# Season Date Year Competition Opponent Score Result Venue
11998-9922 October1998UEFA Cup Winner's CupCopenhagen1-11-1Stamford Bridge
21999-0026 February2000Premier LeagueWatford1-02-1Stamford Bridge
32000-0127 August2000Premier LeagueAston Villa1-11-1Villa Park
42000-0117 March2001Premier LeagueSunderland1-02-4Stamford Bridge
52001-0216 September2001Premier LeagueTottenham Hotspur3-23-2White Hart Lane
62002-0330 November2002Premier LeagueSunderland2-03-0Stamford Bridge
72002-0311 May2003Premier LeagueLiverpool1-12-1Stamford Bridge

Career Honours



AC Milan


Al Gharafa



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