Desailly joins Mideast foreign legion

11th October 2004, Comments 0 comments

DOHA, Oct 10 (AFP) - Former French international Marcel Desailly will become the latest international star to finish his playing days in Qatar with the World Cup winner set to sign to play for the Al-Gharafa club here.

DOHA, Oct 10 (AFP) - Former French international Marcel Desailly will become the latest international star to finish his playing days in Qatar with the World Cup winner set to sign to play for the Al-Gharafa club here.  

Club director Adel Khamis announced the signing here on Sunday as Desailly arrived to finalise the details of his contract with the team.  

"I am ready to play in Qatar," said Desailly who played a record 116 times for France before announcing his international retirement at the end of Euro 2004.   The decision to play in the Gulf will come as a shock to Spanish giants Barcelona who had been keen to sign the former Chelsea defender.  

The financial details of Desailly's move to the club have yet to emerge.  

The 36-year-old Ghana-born defender admitted he would need 10-15 days to regain his match fitness.  

"I'm very happy to be given this new professional opportunity," Desailly said at a press conference.  

In Qatar, the Frenchman will be in familiar company as two ex-France stars, Frank Leboeuf and Christophe Dugarry, also play there.  

Desailly added on his personal website: "I took this decision (to play in Qatar) because deep down I still want to play football, I didn't want to hang up my boots.  

"It will also give me the chance to discover a new environment, a different culture."  

A number of top clubs had been hoping to secure Desailly's signature, and the Frenchman - who did not however cite Barcelona as one of them - said he had appreciated their interest.  

"I want to thank all the clubs who showed an interest in me these past few years, Crystal Palace, Portsmouth, Celtic and a whole host of others."  

As well as winning the World Cup with France in 1998, Desailly also won the European championships in 2000 and the Confederations Cup in 2001 and 2003.  

At club level he won the European Cup with Marseille in 1993 and achieved the rare feat of winning it a year later, with AC Milan.

© AFP

 

Subject: French News

0 Comments To This Article