Marcel Desailly, is a retired French footballer, who played as a centre back or defensive midfielder and was a member of the France international squads that won the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000. During a successful career at club level, lasting from 1986 to 2006, Desailly won UEFA Champions League medals with both Marseille and Milan, and also played for Nantes and Chelsea, among others.
Marcel began his career at FC Nantes. There, as part of the famed FC Nantes youth programme, he played alongside a young Didier Deschamps, who was a very good central back, who became his closest friend. Desailly turned professional in 1986 and 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 A.C. 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. Although he preferred to be deployed as a sweeper or central defender, roles which he played during his time in France, he found much success playing as a defensive midfield for Milan, alongside Demetrio Albertini, due to the presence of several other established central defenders at the club, such as Franco Baresi, Alessandro Costacurta and Filippo Galli.
Desailly then moved to the English club Chelsea in 1998 for £4.6m, where he captained the side and played sweeper and centre-back until the end of the 2003–04 season. It was at Chelsea that Desailly formed a formidable partnership with Frank Leboeuf.
Following retirement, Desailly became a pundit for BBC Sport predominantly giving his opinion from the touchline at both half time and full-time as opposed to residing in the studio with Alan Hansen, Alan Shearer and Martin O’Neill. He worked for BBC Sport in the United Kingdom during the 2006 World Cup, as one of their Match of the Day analysts. He also worked for BBC Sport at the 2008 Africa Cup of Nations and Euro 2008 and is a regular commentator for French television channel Canal Plus. He also became a spokesperson for sports betting website Betclic. In 2010 Desailly joined the ITV Sport team for their World Cup coverage from South Africa.
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