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Top Facts about Youri Djorkaeff, French Golden Generation Player

Mon 05 July 2021 | 18:00

Youri Raffi Djorkaeff was a French professional football player who played as an attacking midfielder or forward who was a player of the French golden generation. We will have a review of the top facts in his professional and personal life.

Youri Raffi Djorkaeff was a French professional football player who played as an attacking midfielder or forward. We will have a look at

the top facts about Youri Djorkaeff

 which include the facts in his professional and personal life.

Top Facts about Youri Djorkaeff, French Golden Generation Player

One of the

top facts about Youri Djorkaeff

is that throughout his professional career, he played for clubs in France, Italy, Germany, England, and the United States. At international level, Youri Djorkaeff netted 28 goals in 82 matches with the French national team from 1993 to 2002.

Youri Djorkaeff had very successful era at the France national team. He won the 1998 FIFA World Cup, Euro 2000, and the 2001 FIFA Confederations Cup, also played at Euro 1996 and the 2002 FIFA World Cup. He is the son of former player Jean Djorkaeff. After he retired in 2006 and after having played in France, Italy, Germany, United Kingdom and the US, Youri Djorkaeff devoted himself to social activities, which finally led him to establish the Youri Djorkaeff Foundation in 2014. Now, he holds the position of Chief Executive Officer of the FIFA Foundation. He was appointed in September 2019.

Youri Djorkaeff information at a glance

  • Name in home country:

     Youri Raffi Djorkaeff

  • Date of birth:

     March 9, 1968

  • Place of birth:

     Lyon, France

  • Age:

     53

  • Citizenship:

     France, Armenia

  • Position:

     Midfield - Attacking Midfield

  • Foot:

     right

  • Current club:

     Retired

  • International team:

    France

  • International appearances:

    82

  • International goals:

    28

  • Date of retirement:

     October 29, 2006

Youri Djorkaeff childhood

One of the

top facts about Youri Djorkaeff

is that he was born on 9 March 1968 in Lyon, to a French father of Polish and Kalmyk origin, Jean Djorkaeff, and an Armenian mother, Mary Ohanian, in Lyon.

Youri Djorkaeff  professional club career

A top fact about Youri Djorkaeff is that he started his career in 1984 with French club Grenoble. Then he played for RC Strasbourg, AS Monaco, and then 

Paris Saint-Germain

.

In 1994, Djorkaeff became the top scorer of Division 1 with 20 goals. He won the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup with Paris Saint-Germain in 1996.

In 1996, he joined the Italian club 

Inter Milan

. In his first season, he netted 17 goals in 49 matches across all tournaments, netting 14 goals in 33 Serie A games; with his superb performances, he helped the team to a third–place finish in Serie A, and also reached the UEFA Cup Final, in which Inter were defeated by Schalke on penalties following a 1–1 draw on aggregate, although Djorkaeff was able to score his penalty kick. 

During the period of the season, he also netted a unforgettable goal from a bicycle kick in a 3–1 home win against 

Roma

 in the league, on 5 January 1997, which is regarded as one of the best goals scored in Inter's history.

Youri Djorkaeff’s next season was less fruitful individually, as it was difficult for him to play well alongside the club's new signing Ronaldo. Finally, Inter finished the season in second place in Serie A and lifted the UEFA Cup, defeating Lazio 3–0 in the final at the Parc des Princes.

In his third and last season with the club, following the signing of Roberto Baggio, he also struggled to find a fixed place in the team, and suffered a further loss of form; furthermore, the team eventually finished the season in eighth place, outside of all possible European qualifying places.

In 1999, Youri Djorkaeff moved to Germany and 

Kaiserslautern

, helping them to the semi-finals of the UEFA Cup in 2001.

Youri Djorkaeff surprised many people when he signed with English club Bolton Wanderers in 2002, but added a lot of class to the club during his three seasons at the team, resulting in the creation of an international "dream-team" alongside the skilful Nigerian Jay-Jay Okocha, and former 

Real Madrid

 midfielder Ivan Campo.

He was a member of the team that reached the final of the 2003–04 League Cup. He then transferred to 

Blackburn Rovers

 but left the team after he played in only three matches.

In February 2005, Youri Djorkaeff then signed with the MetroStars of Major League Soccer, while he rejected higher paid offers from other countries. He became the first French player to play in MLS and ended the season as the team's MVP with ten goals and seven assists in league play.

Youri Djorkaeff international career

One of the top facts about Youri Djorkaeff is that his performance in the AS Monaco jersey quickly attracted the attention of Gérard Houllier, coach of the France national team. It was Arsène Wenger who first announced his selection for a match of the 1994 World Cup qualifiers, against Israel. Djorkaeff played five minutes of the match, when the score was 2-2. 

Thanks to a goal scored in the last minute of play, the Israelis finally won 3-2. A month later, it was from the sidelines that he witnessed the new setback of the Blues against Bulgaria 1-2, which is meant elimination from the World Cup qualifier. The 1994 World Cup was therefore played without the France team. In January 1995, Youri Djorkaeff played the last of his five games with the France A team, a reserve team of the France team he joined in 1993.

The French new manager Aimé Jacquet was looking to build a rejuvenated squad for the 1998 World Cup , which would take place in France . He was launching a new generation of players including Djorkaeff, Zinédine Zidane , Bixente Lizarazu and Fabien Barthez.

Youri Djorkaeff became Jacquet's "lucky charm", increasing the decisive goals in the France jersey. In a formation whose offensive deficiencies were often pointed out, his realism and his sense of purpose are very useful, even essential. 

The first match of the Jacquet era was played on February16, 1994 in Naples against 

Italy

. At the San Paolo stadium, Youri Djorkaeff scoried his first goal in France, with an assist from David Ginola. This goal led to the victory of France. He was just as effective in the next three games as he scored two more goals with a header against Chile at Lyon, then a volley against 

Japan

 at Tokyo, as part of the 1994 Kirin Cup, the first competition won by Youri Djorkaeff with the Blues.

Then begins the qualifying campaign for Euro 1996. France began timidly with three bad results. In August 1995, while the qualification seems compromised, the Blues hosted 

Poland

 at the Parc des Princes for a crucial meeting in order to keep their chances. While the game was 0-1, the French get a good free kick three minutes from time. Djorkaeff took responsibility and scores another decisive goal.

It was obvious that he saved his teammates that evening, and also undoubtedly saved the manager Aimé Jacquet who was strongly criticized by the media. In the next match, France crushed Azerbaijan with a record result of 10-0, including two goals scored by Youri Djorkaeff. Then followed a trip to Romania , where the Blues had to win to stay in the race for qualification. It was what they did very convincingly by winning 3-1. France definitively validates its ticket to England by beating Israel on 15 November 1995 2-0. Youri Djorkaeff was still a goal scorer.

Thirty years after his father, Youri Djorkaeff played in an international competition in England. This European Nations Championship was a springboard for the French World Cup. In the absence of Eric Cantona and David Ginola , who were not selected, Djorkaeff was the main offensive player of the team. 

Many members of his family traveled to support him. After his goal against Spain in the second group match, he immediately headed in their direction. This was his only achievement of the tournament. They eliminated the Netherlands in the quarter-final on penalties, and they sailed to reach to the final match in penalty shoot-outs by Czech Republic. 

Youri Djorkaeff criticized the tactics of his coach which he considered too defensive. A year later, Youri Djorkaeff and France national team play the French tournament, which was an preparatory for the next World Cup. Their performances were disappointing, and Youri Djorkaeff only scored a goal against Italy, sending a shot into the top corner of the goal.

France play their first match in 1998 on 28 January facing Spain ,for the opening of the Stade de France. In front of more than 78,000 spectators, in a cold weather, Zinedine Zidane scored the only goal of the match. 

In May, the Blues went to Casablanca to play the Hassan II tournament. In the match against Morocco,Youri Djorkaeff equalized just minutes after going on the pitch in a very spectacular way, scoring with an aerial heel back to goal.

When the 1998 World Cup began, Djorkaeff was then the Blues' top scorer with sixteen goals. However, the question of its complementarity with Zinédine Zidane arises in the media, which the two players disprove. 

The team faced with the many criticisms, but also there were with the enormous expectation of a whole country, the France team begins its World Cup on June 12, 1998 in Marseille against South Africa. France won the game 3-0. For the next match against Saudi Arabia , Aimé Jacquet decided to leave Youri Djorkaeff on the bench. He came on the pitch at the end of the game and assisted Bixente Lizarazu  to scored closely. 

The third match took place at in Lyon at the Gerland stadium, against Denmark of Michael Laudrup. He scored the first and only goal of his career in the World Cup on a penalty kick on the right of goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel.

In match against Paraguay in the round of 16, the team qualified with a golden goal from Laurent Blanc , and faced Italy in the quarterfinals. The two teams played at the penalty shoot-out to decide the winner; Youri Djorkaeff did not take a penalty, believing that the fact that he knew the opposing goalkeeper, Gianluca Pagliuca (his Inter Milan teammate) would not favor him to score. In the semi-final against Croatia , he assisted the equalizing goal to Lilian Thuram. 

He is again assisted in the final against Brazil, since he kicked the corner on which Zinédine Zidane scored the second goal of the match shortly before half-time. France won 3-0 and Youri Djorkaeff lifted the World Cup.

At the end of this World Cup, a new national coach, Roger Lemerre , was appointed in place of Aimé Jacquet. Youri Djorkaeff remains an essential part of the team. As proof, he finished top scorer of the team in the qualifying campaign for Euro 2000. Following a muscle injury in his right thigh, Djorkaeff feared for a long time that he would not be able to play in this European Championship, but he finally recovered on time. 

For the first game against Denmark, in which they won 2-1, he was substituted at the end of the meeting, and then he did not play against Czech Republic. He entered the second half and scored the winning goal. He did it again against Spain in the quarterfinals, assisted by Patrick Vieira.

Youri Djorkaeff assisted again as France qualifies for the final after their victory against Portugal in extra time. Established for the final against Italy, he was substituted in the second half and Sylvain Wiltord then David Trezeguet scored two goals for the Blues, and the team won European champions just two years after their world title.

Twelve months later, they won a third title: the Confederations Cup . Youri Djorkaeff took the opportunity to score his twenty-eighth and last goal in the national team, against South Korea. With the Blues, he had won everything.

Youri Djorkaeff arrived in South Korea to play for France in the 2002 World Cup , while he had a difficult season. He returned to the France team in April and after almost six months of absence he played against Russia. 

While the French squad were preparing for this the World Cup suffer from having played too much, Djorkaeff suffered from an obvious lack of competition. Barely facing Belgium and South Korea in friendly matches, he had a lot of difficulties in the first group match against Senegal . 

Following the withdrawal of Robert Pirès and the injury of Zinédine Zidane, he was entrusted with the reins of the team in the competition. Uncomfortable in this role of organizer, Youri Djorkaeff no longer had the spontaneity of his youth. In the first match he lost a ball in the middle of the field which allowed the Senegalese to attack and score the only goal of the match and he was replaced by Christophe Dugarry at the start of the second period. Replaced by Johan Micoud, he did not play in the next match against Uruguay , which ended 0-0. Youri Djorkaeff replaced Sylvain Wiltord in the 82th  minute of the match against Denmark. Thia match was the 82nd  and last game the France national team.

Youri Djorkaeff Style of play

One of the top facts about Youri Djorkaeff is that he was Nicknamed The Snake, due to his skill to get past defenders and curve the ball. Youri Djorkaeff was a gifted playmaker, who generally played as an attacking midfielder, although he was also capable of playing in deeper positions in midfield, or in more attacking roles, as a creative second striker, or even as a complete forward, while he often played in a role on the left side at France.

A stylish and gifted player, he was mainly known for his flair, dribbling skills, and excellent touch on the ball; he was also known for his vision, passing, serenity, and class, and possessed a good shot, which allowed him both to net and assist goals. 

Youri Djorkaeff was known for his positional sense and smart movement off the ball, as well as his skill to lose his markers with his attacking runs and create space for himself, or provide depth to the team; he was also highly considered for his accurateness from free kicks and penalties with his right foot.

Youri Djorkaeff after retirement

Youri Djorkaeff declared from the beginning that he would end his professional career at the end of 2006 season, and played for the re-branded New York Red Bulls. On 1 July 2006, he was recognized in the crowd with French fans at the FIFA World Cup quarter-final match between France and Brazil after telling Red Bulls officials he left the club to attend to "an unexpected, serious family matter in France." When he returned, he said that the purpose of his departure was to be with his sick mother and downplayed watching the World Cup match.

Eventually Youri Djorkaeff retired from professional football on 29 October 2006.

Death threat for Youri Djorkaeff

One of the strange top facts about Youri Djorkaeff is that in November 2000, there was a debate following a trip to Turkey by the France team. Indeed, his teammate at the France national team Emmanuel Petit declared in the press that Youri Djorkaeff had "received death threats" because of his Armenian origin and that these threats largely justified his absence in Istanbul.

Youri Djorkaeff personal life

Youri Djorkaeff’s wife name is Sophie. He has three children: Sacha, Oan and Angelica. Djorkaeff released a singing single called "Vivre dans Ta Lumière", which means "Living in Your Light". His father, Jean, and younger brother, Micha Djorkaeff, were also professional footballers.

On 15 November 2012 Youri Djorkaeff hosted Phone-a-thon for Armenian charity held in Europe. The Phoneathon benefits the establishment of community centres in villages throughout Nagorno Karabakh and complete agricultural development in Armenia's Tavush Region. In addition, a part of the profits will be dedicated to providing vital support to the Syrian-Armenian community.

During the time he played in England, Youri Djorkaeff opened a football school in Armenia. After he retired, he became the head of his childhood club in Lyon, Union Generale Armenienne de Decines, in April 2007. 

Youri Djorkaeff now also runs the Youri Djorkaeff Foundation, a non-profit organisation dedicated to providing football programs in New York City.

Youri Djorkaeff trophies

Monaco

  • Coupe de France in 1990–91

Paris Saint-Germain

  • Trophee des Champions in 1995

  • UEFA Cup Winners' Cup in 1995–96

Inter Milan

  • UEFA Cup in 1997–98

Bolton Wanderers

  • Football League Cup runner-up in 2003–04

France national team

  • FIFA World Cup in 1998

  • UEFA European Championship in 2000

  • FIFA Confederations Cup in 2001

Individual

  • Division 1 top scorer in 1993–94

  • UEFA European Championship Team of the Tournament in 1996

  • Inter Milan Player of the Year in 1997

  • FIFA XI in 1997

  • Knight of the Legion of Honour in 1998

 

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