One of the greatest modern French footballers, Marcel Desailly was a member of the charismatic French football team which won the 1998 FIFA World Cup and the 2000 European Championship
One of the greatest modern French footballers, Marcel Desailly was a member of the charismatic French football team which won the 1998 FIFA World Cup and the 2000 European Championship. Following those triumphs, he succeeded Didier Deschamps as captain of the team and in 2001 led France to victory in the Confederations Cup held in South Korea and Japan, a feat he repeated two years later in France. He played in total 116 times for France, then a record, before retiring following the 2004 European Championship.
He was awarded the Légion d'Honneur for his part in the 1998 World Cup victory, and in 2001, on behalf of the French team, he received the Laureus World Team of the Year Award in Monaco in recognition of the nation’s European Championship victory.
Desailly, widely acknowledged as one of the most accomplished defenders football has ever seen, came to France from Ghana when he was just four, when his mother married a French diplomat. He became a professional footballer at the age of 18 with FC Nantes in 1986 and moved to Olympique Marseille six years later, where he was a member of the team which won the Champions League in 1993.
He was with Olympique for just two years before moving to Italian giants AC Milan who in 1994 also won the Champions League, making him the first player to win Europe’s most prestigious club competition in consecutive seasons with different clubs. In four years with Milan he won two Italian Serie A Championships in 1994 and 1996.
In 1998 Desailly moved for a fee of over €6 million to London club Chelsea, for whom he played for the last six years of his top class career. He was a member of Chelsea’s FA Cup winning side in 2000.
An enthusiastic supporter of the work of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, Marcel Desailly was elected a member of the Laureus World Sports Academy in January 2007.