Claude Makelele Biography

Monday08 February 2021 | 13:30
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Known as one of the best defensive midfielders of his time, Claude Makelele was one of the key performers of Jose Mourinho’s first season at Chelsea team. In this article, we take a look at his biography.

Claude Makelele, born on 18 February 1973 in Kinshasa, Zaire, is a former French international footballer who has now become a coach. During his career, he played very successfully as a defensive midfielder in many teams.

Between 1990 and 2011, he played for FC Nantes, Olympique de Marseille, Real Madrid, Chelsea and Paris SG where he arrived in 2008 and ended his professional career in the club. He won many titles in his career, including the Champions League and the Intercontinental Cup in 2002 and the French (1995), Spanish (2001 and 2003) and English (2005 and 2006) league titles.

His career with the French national team spanned thirteen years, from 1995 to 2008. He missed out on victories in the 1998 World Cup and at Euro 2000, but he was part of the team that reached the final of the 2006 World Cup.

At the end of his professional football career, he stayed at Paris Saint-Germain to complete his reconversion, becoming an adviser to sports director Leonardo and then assistant coach to Carlo Ancelotti and Laurent Blanc.

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All You Need to Know About Claude Makelele Biography

In 2014, he was appointed coach of SC Bastia, in Ligue 1, but the results were not there and the adventure did not last. On 6 November 2017, he was appointed coach of AS Eupen, in Belgian Division 1. He was sacked on 14 June 2019, after two seasons of service.

Claude Makelele Information

Now that we know him much better, in this section of

Claude Makelele biography

we will share some more general information about him such as

Claude Makelele nationality

so you can get to know him even better. Stay tuned!

Claude Makelele Bio

  • Full Name: Claude Makelele Sinda

  • Nickname: The Ebony Tripod

  • Profession: Professional Footballer

Claude Makelele Physical Stats

  • Weight: 66 Kg

  • Height: 1.74 m

  • Eye Color: Brown

  • Hair Color: Black

Claude Makelele Football Information

  • Position: Midfielder

  • Jersey Number: 4

  • Professional Debut: 1991

Claude Makelele Date of Birth and Personal Info

  • Date of Birth: 18 February 1973

  • Birth Place: Kinshasa, Zaire

  • Zodiac Sign: Aquarius

  • Nationality: French

Now stay tuned in this section of

Claude Makelele biography

as we will take a look at other parts of his life such as

Claude Makelele childhood.

Claude Makelele Early Life

As a child born in Kinshasa (Zaire), Claude Makelele spent his first four years at his grandmother's house with his mother, while his father, André-Joseph Makelele, who was a top-level footballer, was in exile in Belgium. At the age of five, his family reunited in Epinay-sous-Senart, France. It was at that time, when he played at the US Boussy-Saint-Antoine, then at the US Melun, alongside Lilian Thuram.

In 1991, Claude Makelele turned professional by signing for Brest Armorique FC, where he played as a right midfielder. He was forced to leave the Breton club before the end of the year in December 1991, when the club went bankrupt and was administratively relegated to the third division.

Claude Makelele Profile

In December 1991, when he was still eighteen, Makelele was recruited by

FC Nantes

. Robert Budzynski, Nantes sports director, stated that he noticed the "new Emmanuel Petit" in him. The player then joined the FC Nantes squad and started in Division 1 on 8 August 1992, in a match against Nantes in



At the beginning of the 1992-1993 season, Makelele was already part of the Nantes first team, playing in the French first division.

In 1994-1995, he took part in the UEFA Cup, losing in the quarter-finals against

Bayer Leverkusen

. The following season, he assisted the club in the semi-final of the UEFA Champions League in 1995-1996, eliminated by



With the Canaries, he won the

French Ligue 1

title in 1995 and set a record of 32 matches playing for them. As a right midfielder, Makelele was one of the key players for Nantes, which earned him his first selection for the French national team.

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Olympique de Marseille and Celta Vigo

Makelele left Nantes in 1997 to join the

Olympique de Marseille

. However, after a fairly convincing season, in which he still managed to score three goals in the city of Marseille, he left to play for

Celta Vigo

in Spain.

Makelele was transferred to Celta Vigo where he spent two successful seasons at the Galician club. While playing alongside Aleksandr Mostovoi, Valeri Karpin, Haim Revivo and Míchel Salgado, Celta won historic victories such as 4-1 against


and 4-0 against


in the 1999 and 2000 UEFA Cup, losing for two consecutive seasons in the quarter-finals.

He became one of the best defensive midfielders in

La Liga

. After two seasons at Celta, he was recruited by the prestigious

Real Madrid

. Now stay tuned in this section of

Claude Makelele biography

as we will take a look at other parts of his life such as his Real Madrid career.

Real Madrid

The transfer of Claude Makelele to Real Madrid was controversial because Celta did not want to sell him until a substantial improvement in its offer was made. The player refused to train with the club until the termination of his contract. Finally, Celta was reluctantly forced to sell him for fourteen million euros, far less than their valuation of the French player.

The transfer of Makelele to Real marks a real turning point in his career. Not only did he join one of the best clubs in Europe, with whom he won the Champions League in 2002, but he also returned to the French national team. He arrived at the club to be the new defensive midfielder after the departure of Fernando Redondo to

AC Milan

, among the "galactic" stars of Real Madrid (Zidane, Figo, Ronaldo, Raul and Morientes).

In Real Madrid, Makelele considerably improved his record, winning two Spanish La Liga titles, the Champions League, the

Spanish Supercup

, the UEFA Supercup and the Intercontinental Cup. Always a member of Vicente del Bosque's Real Madrid team, Makelele also established himself as one of the best defensive midfielders in the world.

With his ability to pick up a lot of balls and his quality of recovery, the player became an essential element in the balance of the Madrid team, which was then considered the best in the world.

Notwithstanding his value to the team, Makelele was one of its lowest-paid (relatively) members, earning a fraction of the money that was paid to his teammates. In the summer of 2003, feeling that his position at the club was insecure after the dismissal of Del Bosque and the arrival of David Beckham, he was encouraged by his teammates to take up his position.

Makelele decided to ask for an improved contract. The Real Madrid Board categorically refused to consider his request. Makelele was upset and filed a transfer request, which was then signed by Chelsea. The club's president, Florentino Pérez, infamously scorned Makelele's footballing abilities and stated that he would not be missed.

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When Real failed to obtain the hoped-for increase to his contract in 2003, the player left to join the ambitious London club


, where he proved that he was one of the best players in the world in his position. In the summer of 2003, Makelele signed for Chelsea for £16.8 million, where manager Claudio Ranieri declared that Makelele would be the team's "drummer".

Makelele was officially kicked off in the

Premier League

on 13 September against


. Makelele quickly became used to the physical demands of the English league but less used to the schedule. Chelsea finished second in the Premier League and was eliminated by Monaco in the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League in 2003-2004.

When Ranieri was sacked and replaced by José Mourinho, Makelele was a key player in Chelsea's 2004-2005 season, winning both the Premier League and the League Cup. His defensive qualities enabled Frank Lampard, Joe Cole, Arjen Robben, Damien Duff, Eidur Gudjohnsen and Didier Drogba to showcase their attacking talents. Mourinho recognised Makelele's importance and declared him "Player of the Year".

To conclude the Frenchman's 2004-2005 season, he was allowed to shoot a penalty awarded to Chelsea in the match against Charlton Athletic in which the Premier League trophy was awarded. Charlton goalkeeper Stephan Andersen stopped the first shot, but Makelele scored on the unblocked stop. In September 2005, he was selected as a member of FIFPro World XI.

The following season, he won both the Community Shield and the Premier League in 2006. But as Claude Makelele started to feel great pressure, Mourinho was forced to alternately bring down Lampard and Michael Essien in midfield to ease the pressure on Makelele.

On 5 November 2006, during a league match with Tottenham Hotspur, Makelele scored his second goal for the club. A difficult curling volley from the edge of the 18-metre playing area sent goalkeeper Paul Robinson to the left of the goal. On 5 December 2006, during a League Cup match against Newcastle United, Makelele wore the captain's armband in the absence of John Terry and with Frank Lampard at rest. In 2007, he won the FA Cup and the League Cup.

The 2007-2008 season was a period of rebirth for Makelele, at the age of 35, he played the majority of matches for Chelsea, and despite an ear infection, he regained his place and forced Michael Essien to the right-back position, pushing Juliano Belletti to the bench. Makelele played a key role in Chelsea's run to the 2008 Champions League final under manager Avram Grant; the team was defeated by

Manchester United

in a penalty shootout after a 1-1 draw, making him the player who played in the most Champions League semi-finals in the history of football that season. Eight in total, one with Nantes, three with Real Madrid and four with Chelsea.

Makelele is to date one of the only Frenchmen, along with Thierry Henry and Kingsley Coman, to have won three different European league titles: the French league with Nantes in 1995, the Spanish league with Real Madrid in 2001 and 2003 and the English league with Chelsea in 2005 and 2006.

Now stay tuned in this section of Claude Makelele biography as we will take a look at other parts of his life such as PSG career.

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On 21 July 2008, he signed a one-year contract with Paris Saint-Germain, with an additional year option should he wish to do so. He became the new captain of the team. He had a fairly good season with Paris-Saint-Germain and then decided to continue the adventure for another season. Claude Makelele scored his only goal with Paris-Saint-Germain in a match against RC Lens (1-1) on 16 December 2009.

He extended his contract with Paris-Saint-Germain for another year after his team's victory in the final of the 2010 French Cup. On 24 November 2010, he announced that at the age of 38 it would be the last season of his career. Despite his age,

Claude Makelele

continued to be a regular and captain at Paris Saint-Germain during the 2010-11 season.

His experience, his vision of the game and his positional awareness made him a key player in the midfield that will lead PSG to 2nd place in Ligue 1 during the winter break. He played his 100th match against Agen in the French Cup on January 23rd 2011, in Paris. He ended his career at the age of 38, during the 38th match and final day of Ligue 1 between Paris Saint-Germain and AS Saint-Etienne on 29 May 2011.

French National Team

Makelele was one of the key players for the Nantes team when he made his first appearance for the French national team on 22 July 1995 against Norway (0-0). He then represented his country at the 1996 Summer Olympic Games.

A victim of the strong competition for his position with the French national team, but also his inconsistent performances at club level and his successful but little media coverage at Celta Vigo, Makelele has rarely been called up for the national team since his first selection in 1995. He thus missed out on the triumphs of 1998 and 2000.

From 2000 onwards, having established himself as an indispensable player in the Madrid midfield, Makelele found a more regular place in the national team.

His success at club level with Chelsea contrasted with his performances for the French national team. Although Makelele has managed to win his place with Les Bleus, his performances were far from convincing. After Euro 2004, he announced his international retirement in September 2004 to concentrate with his club Chelsea, but eleven months later, in August 2005, he and his countrymen Zinedine Zidane and Lilian Thuram were convinced to step down from retirement to help


qualify for the 2006 World Cup in Germany.

In the summer of 2005, at the request of Raymond Domenech, he changed his mind and contributed to France's qualification for the 2006 World Cup. Makelele then regained his status as an indispensable midfielder for Les Bleus. On 13 June 2006, during the France-Switzerland World Cup match against Switzerland, he was named man of the match by FIFA.

Makelele's performances as a tireless midfield player were invaluable to France's progress towards the final by beating Spain, world champion Brazil and Euro 2004 finalist Portugal in the Round of 16.

After having announced his international retirement several times, notably for the Euro 2008 qualifiers (but always recalled by Domenech), the player first announced that he would not participate in the tournament in Switzerland and Austria. However, he was called up by the coach for the matches against Georgia and Italy.

Questioned about the fact that Makelele was called into the national team despite his opposition during an interview with Sky Sports, Chelsea manager José Mourinho accused the national coach of treating Makelele like a "slave" and refusing to honor his retirement.

He changed his mind in November 2007, shortly after the French team qualified, stating that this tournament if selected, would be his last international competition. After the dismissal of the French team at Euro 2008 (elimination in the group stage), he declared on 18 June 2008 that he was ending his career with the national team.

Now stay tuned in this section of Claude Makelele biography as we will take a look at other parts of his life such as his career as a manager.

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Coaching Career

After his retirement, he was a consultant, scout and ambassador of the Parisian club until 30 December 2011, when he became assistant coach of the new manager Carlo Ancelotti.

On 24 May 2014, he was appointed as the new manager of Bastia from which he was dismissed on 3 November after the defeat against Guingamp, last in the standings that made the team fall into the relegation zone after 2 wins, 4 draws and 6 defeats.

On 7 January 2016, he was appointed technical director of Monaco, but already on 6 June he resigned and terminated his contract by mutual consent. On 11 January 2017, he was appointed assistant coach of Swansea City alongside the new coach Paul Clement.

On 6 November of the same year, he was appointed to manage Eupen, who was last in the Belgian league. In his first year, he finished second to last saving his place while in 2018/2019 he finished twelfth in the season and fifth in the Europa League play-offs. On 14 June 2019, he was relieved of his duties while becoming the club's ambassador for several social projects.

He returned to Chelsea in August as a youth technical mentor while also following up on players loaned out by the London club. Now stay tuned in this section of Claude Makelele biography as we will take a look at other parts of his life such as his playing style.

Style of Play

In a defensive midfield role, Claude Makelele was an extremely comfortable player. Very enduring, able to rake, recover, and protect with his body and pass the ball safely, without extraordinary technical gestures or apparent speed, he was often missed by his teammates after he left their club.

His physical strength despite his small size, combined with his low center of gravity, also gave him an excellent balance on the ball in limited spaces, allowing him to maintain possession against more physical opponents. In addition to his defensive skills, Makelele was also known for his tenacity, awareness, consistency and strong mentality.


Many fans, football critics and also much fellow professional football regard Claude Makelele as one of the best midfielders of his age and amongst the top players in the history of French football.

Goal Celebration

As a defensive midfielder, Claude Makelele has scored only 25 goals during his club career. Given this and the fact that he never had a signature goal celebration, we cannot mention a specific Claude Makelele goal celebration.

Claude Makelele outside Football

As Claude Makelele never shares anything about his personal life, is not very active on social media and what he shares on his Instagram is usually about football, we don’t have much information about his life outside football.

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Claude Makelele Personal Life

In this section of Claude Makelele biography, we want to take a look at his personal life and share some information of him such as

Claude Makelele life story


Claude Makelele religion


Family, Children and Relationships

Claude Makelele grew up speaking Lingala, a Congolese language, in his family. In Lingala, Makelele means "a lot of noise".

Makelele has three children, the first, a daughter named Shana from a long-term marriage to Thandi Ojeer in 2002. In 2004, he began a relationship with French model Noémie Lenoir, and he has had his second child, a son named Kelyan, with her since 2005. The couple separated in 2009, and Lenoir later attempted suicide in Makelele's flat with an overdose of alcohol and other drugs. Makelele then denied that this had anything to do with the break-up. On 31 December 2010, his third child was born.


Claude Makelele is amongst the footballers who are always involved in many charitable works. In 2003, he became involved with Amnesty International to denounce the civil war in Congo-Kinshasa.

He is also always involved in Soccer Aid charity football matches which are organized every year by UNICEF UK. The Soccer Aid has so far raised 47 million pounds and is continuing to do so with each year’s event.

Legal Issues

In May 2012, Makelele was accused of domestic violence by his former partner Thandi Ojeer. On 13 September 2012, Makelele was cleared in a court in Versailles.

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Claude Makelele Career Statistics

In this section of Claude Makelele Biography, we will take a look at his career statistics both as a player and manager, stay tuned.


During a 19 years club career between 1992 and 2011, Claude Makelele played a total of 802 matches in all competitions for six different clubs, scoring only 25 goals. His two spells with Real Madrid and Chelsea were definitely the highlight of his career, where he played 140 matches for Real Madrid, scoring 2 goals and 217 matches for Chelsea, scoring the same amount of goals.


Claude Makelele’s national team career had so many ups and downs, despite starting his French career at 1995, but until the early months of 2000, he had only played 3 matches for his country, missing out on 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000 squads.

Until 2008 when he announced his retirement from the national team, he played a total of 71 matches for France. He never scored a single goal for his country.

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During his managing career at French side Bastia and Belgian club Eupen, Claude Makelele has managed both teams on 83 matches where he won 24, drawn 15 and lost 44 matches. His win ratio was 23.08 percent and at Eupen, it was 30 percent. His teams have scored 88 goals and conceded 133 goals under his guidance.

Claude Makelele Honors

As one of the most decorated French footballers, Claude Makelele has won many awards and titles during his club career including French Division 1, La Liga,

UEFA Champions League

, UEFA Super Cup, Intercontinental Cup, Premier League, FA Cup and FA Community Shield among others.

On the international level, he was once runner-ups in 2006 World Cup with France national team.

He has never won any trophies or awards during his career as a manager.

Of his individual titles and awards, we can mention FIFPro World XI, Chelsea Players' Player of the Year, ESPN World Team of the Decade and UNFP Trophée d'honneur.

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source: SportMob