Wed 29 September 2021 | 20:29

Top facts about Marcel Desailly, The Rock

Marcel Desailly is among the best French players in history. As a strong midfielder with an imposing physique, he excelled in all areas possessing exceptional qualities both in defending and attacking. Read on to find out more facts about Marcel Desailly.

Marcel Desailly

(born 7 September 1968 in Odenke Abbey) is a retired competitive footballer from France who is generally regarded as one of the best center-backs and defensive midfielders of all time.

Marcel Desailly’s age

is 53. Here you can find out the most important facts about Marcel Desailly, the legendary former defenders.

Marcel Desailly had a great club career that lasted from 1986 to 2006, winning numerous championships, notably UEFA Champions League trophies with both Marseille and AC Milan, as well as playing for Nantes and Chelsea.

Between 1993 and 2004, he earned 116 appearances for France, netting three goals, and was a part of the national teams that claimed the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000.

People seem to favor defenders who are physically powerful and have excellent tackling skills. It's also preferable to have some speed and aerial power.

Marcel Desailly, on the other hand, excelled in all of these categories and had a couple characteristics that most defenders lack: leadership and an uncanny ability to read the game. These characteristics, along with his constancy, distinguished him from the rest of the group, earning him the moniker "The Wall."

Facts about Marcel Desailly:

An important

fact about Marcel Desailly

is that after beginning his career at


, his steady performances drew the attention of Marseille, a French club that he subsequently joined.

He won the Champions League during his short two-year stay with the club. As a deep-lying defensive midfielder and at times in the heart of the defense, he played a crucial role for the team.

Marcel Desailly early life

Marcel Desailly was born on September 7, 1968, in Accra, Ghana, as the child of Ghanaian parents.

Speaking about

Marcel Desailly’s parents

, it is worth mentioning that when his mom wedded the chief of the French Ambassador in Accra, who adopted all of her kids, he altered his name (the former professional footballer Seth Adonkor, seven years his elder, was a half-brother of his).


Marcel Desailly's childhood

, it should be mentioned that his family moved to France when he was 4 years old.

Marcel Desailly personal life

Desailly belongs to the Ga ethnic group. He is the father of four children and is married to Virginie. James Édouard Adams, his nephew, is a semi-professional footballer.

Marcel Desailly is presently living in Ghana. Stock released Desailly's autobiography, Capitaine, in France in 2002.

He is now a part of the Laureus Academy and a Lifetime Ambassador for OrphanAid Africa in Ghana and France (since 2005).

Marcel Desailly professional career

An important fact about Marcel Desailly is that he started his professional career with FC Nantes, following in the footsteps of Adonkor. He played with a teenage

Didier Deschamps

, who became his best friend, as part of the renowned FC Nantes youth program.

Marcel Desailly club career

Marcel Desailly had a great club career that lasted from 1986 to 2006, winning numerous championships, notably UEFA Champions League trophies with both Marseille and AC Milan, as well as playing for Nantes and



Between 1993 and 2004, he earned 116 appearances for France, netting three goals, and was a part of the national teams that claimed the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000.

Olympique de Marseille

Desailly began his professional career in 1986, two years after the death of his half-brother in a vehicle accident. He joined Olympique de Marseille in 1992 and earned the UEFA Champions League the next year, reuniting with Deschamps.

AC Milan

In 1994, while starring for AC Milan, he won the Cup for the second time (scoring in the final), becoming the only player to win the Cup with two different teams in the same year. He earned two Italian league championships during his tenure at Milan, in 1994 and 1996.

Although he wanted to play as a sweeper or center-back, which he did in France, he had a lot of success as a defensive midfielder for Milan, along with Demetrio Albertini, due to the existence of several other defined center-backs at the team, including Franco Baresi, Alessandro Costacurta, and Filippo Galli.


A notable

fact about Marcel Desailly

is that he was the club's greatest impact signing in the pre-Roman Abramovich era, ahead of Didier Drogba, Fernando Torres, Kai Havertz, and

Romelu Lukaku

— and that was a month before he hoisted the most coveted honor of them at the Stade De France.

Desailly made his Chelsea debut at Highfield Road in Coventry, only a month after riotous celebrations in Paris. He was entrusted with stopping the Sky Blues' front three of Darren Huckerby, Noel Whelan, and Dion Dublin. In the late 1990s, the Premier League's still-agricultural, punt-it-forward game was put to the test.

Within the first 16 minutes, Desailly was beaten by Huckerby and Whelan — the first goal a direct free kick, the second a set-piece – and it was a debut to forget. Coventry came out on top 2-1. Chelsea's 'Rock' seemed to be breakable in those early months, as Desailly subsequently admitted.

But he quickly adjusted. Desailly turned in an outstanding performance to preserve a clean sheet in the UEFA Super Cup final against

Real Madrid

a week after the loss to Coventry, a 1-0 victory that demonstrated that his World Cup-winning combination with Frank Lebeouf could be just as effective at club level.

After losing on the opening day to Coventry, Chelsea only lost two more Premier League games and finished only four points behind Manchester United's triple champions.

Desailly tended to stand up for the big event in the 1999-00 season, an important component in navigation through two Champions League groups including Milan, Lazio, and Marseille, with losses at Watford, Derby, Sunderland, and Sheffield Wednesday leading to a dismal fifth-place finish.

The centre-back was unfazed in the last FA Cup final at Wembley, a 1-0 triumph over Aston Villa, and he was back there to start the 2000-01 season with a 2-0 Charity Shield success against Manchester United. Dwight Yorke and Andy Cole, who were added for a late surge in the last 20 minutes, had no answer for Chelsea's French defensive wall, and neither did

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

and Teddy Sheringham.

Chelsea's domestic record deteriorated at the turn of the century, and Gianluca Vialli was replaced by Claudio Ranieri, another Italian, in September 2000. The move in the dugout did not result in a spectacular improvement in form, and the club's cup record that season was poor, but Ranieri supervised steady improvement.

It was a difficult period for the club, with two sixth-place results in a row between 2001 and 2003, but Desailly's expertise – he was in his mid-thirties at the time and Dennis Wise's successor as club captain – proved essential in navigating stormy waters. Lebouef left for Marseille, while Terry and William Gallas were on their way out and needed a place to sleep.

Desailly helped the team return to the Champions League after three years away, with a fourth-place finish at Liverpool's expense in the 2002-03 season. He scored a crucial early equalize as the Blues defeated Gerard Houllier's Reds 2-1 on the final day, after starring significantly during a strong defensive season.

An important

fact about Marcel Desailly

is that he only had seven goals in 222 games, but he had a flair for scoring at the right time. When Roman Abramovich purchased the club in 2003, the win against


guaranteed top-level European play, which was critical for the team's rapid ascent to higher heights.

Desailly's sixth and last season at Chelsea, and the only one under Abramovich's ownership, had arrived, and it was time for him to return to the perimeter. Gallas and Terry's progress had been aided by the experienced defender, and they suddenly looked better without him.

Although ‘The Rock' only made 15 Premier League games, he was instrumental in their journey to the Champions League semi-final – but he was denied a perfect swansong when a series of bizarre tactical errors by Ranieri proved costly in a 5-3 aggregate loss to



Desailly's sole significant honor during his six years at Chelsea was the FA Cup, a striking contrast to the imperial period that would follow, but his contribution to the club's path to where they are now will not be forgotten by its supporters.

Al-Gharafa and Qatar SC

Al-Gharafa, a Qatari company, bought Desailly in 2004. He was named club captain, and the team won the Qatar League in 2005 under the guidance of French coach Bruno Metsu. Before retirement from pro football, he signed Qatar S.C. and led them to second place in the league.

Desailly spoke with the Malaysian Football Association in 2014 and said that he was ready and eager to coach the national squad. He also said that the decision to employ him or not was up to the football association.

Marcel Desailly international career

An important fact about Marcel Desailly is that he has said several times that he is completely French and that, despite having connections to Ghana, he has never contemplated competing for a nation other than France.

He said in an event in Ghana that he didn't have much of an option in terms of which country to compete for since he was already a member of the French national youth football squad. In his autobiography, released in 2002, he reiterated this position. He made his international debut in 1993, but it wasn't until 1996 that he established himself as a first-choice defender.

A notable

fact about Marcel Desailly

is that he was a key member of the French squad that won the FIFA World Cup in 1998, despite getting sent off in the final. In 1998, he was named a Knight of the Legion of Honour, together with the rest of the squad.

France claimed Euro 2000 two years later, extending their winning streak. After Didier Deschamps' resignation, Desailly was named captain of the national squad after the tournament. He guided France to the Confederations Cup triumph in 2001.

Desailly broke the record for most games for the French squad in April 2003, with 116 by the time he declared his resignation from international football after the 2004 UEFA European Football Championship. Lilian Thuram, however, broke the record at the 2006 FIFA World Cup.

Desailly's position as a UNICEF goodwill ambassador to Ghana has kept him extremely busy since he retired from football. He has also maintained strong ties to the game, scouting for the

Ghana national team

and finishing his UEFA Pro License credentials in preparation for a future career as a coach.

Marcel Desailly style of play

Desailly is known as "The Rock" because of his reliability, power, and hard-tackling playing style. He is regarded as one of the best French defenders of all time, and was known for his personable governance and ability to organize his team's back-line and break down opponents plays all through his career.

An important fact about Marcel Desailly is that he merged his violence, endurance, and ability to read the game, as well as his physical, psychological, and protective skills, with a noteworthy self-belief and good methodology on the ball, which permitted him to play in midfield all through his career; indeed, after shifting to Milan, although he thrived in the air and at predicting his opposition.

He could contribute to his team's offensive plays with goals in addition to his defensive abilities by making aggressive runs into the box.


rated him one of the world's best living players in the FIFA 100 in 2004.


“Desailly would stand in the squad lineup and say to me, ‘Listen to this Champions League music, this is what you want to hear year after season,' and he was excited,” John Terry remembered as his own playing career came to an end.

“At the conclusion of his career, he was a guy who had won everything and didn't need to be ‘up' for those matches, but he still wanted to win and be a part of those great Champions League evenings. And I'll never forget those evenings standing beside Desailly - I've got shivers on my legs even now.”

Marcel Desailly, Terry's predecessor as Chelsea captain, was renowned as 'The Rock' for his dominating performances in the Blues backline - but the France international only won a fraction of the titles contrasted to the academy graduate he helped develop during his tenure at Stamford Bridge. However, it was a new club back then.

Desailly claimed the Champions League in back-to-back seasons with Marseille and Fabio Capello's AC Milan, playing in midfield and scored the fourth goal as the Rossoneri beat

Johan Cruyff

's Barca Perfect Team 4-0 in the 1994 Athens final.

About the best player in his generaion, he once said, "There have only been a few players in football history who have been the greatest - the best of their age. You must first choose Pele, and then select Maradona. But then there's Ronaldo, not Zidane—got it's to be Ronaldo.

“When I was at

AC Milan

, he was at Inter. I was playing with Paolo Maldini, and I was probably at my best. But it was only when he was playing against Ronaldo that I saw Maldini was concerned.

“Marcel, you have to remain near me—I need your assistance here,” he added. You must remain in close proximity to me. We'll have to go all-in on him. We have to double up on him when he takes the ball away and runs.”

“He was incredible. He was a sorcerer. Wow, the impact on everyone participating and watching was incredible. It was like—wahhh!—when Ronaldo grabbed the ball. The whole stadium was a hive of activity. He was the only player who left such an indelible impression on those who saw him.”

About his time at Marseille, he said, "Our Champions League-winning team from 1993 is still the only French team to have won the competition. Bernard Tapie was creating a new squad every year around that time, and our team in 1993 was arguably the worst throughout the Tapie years.”

“The top players of Marseille, Chris Waddle, Carlos Mozer, and Jean-Pierre Papin, all departed the previous year. Nobody expected Marseille to win the Champions League that year, including us. We had some great players, such as Rudi Voller and Alen Boki, but no one anticipated us to go that far. We had to work together since we didn't have that particular star.”

“That is exactly what we did. It will go down in history as the first victory for a French team. But it will also go down in history as one of the most amazing cities in the world, Marseille. It's a bizarre place. There is no such thing as logic; people will adore you one minute and then detest you the next. What a fascinating location.”

He has been touted as a potential contender for the Ghana national team's coaching job. He has now withdrawn from the competition to lead Ghana's national team, but the possibility is expected to resurface in the future.

In June 2011, he established the Lizzy Sports Complex in Ghana, named for his late mother and targeted at young players and youngsters in particular. Many African national teams’ camp and train for international competitions at the facility.

Marcel Desailly in the media

Desailly had become a BBC Sport commentator after retiring, mostly offering his viewpoint from the touchline at both half-time and full-time rather than in the studio alongside Alan Hansen, Alan Shearer, and Martin O'Neill.

During the 2006 World Cup, he served as a Match of the Day analyst for BBC Sport in the United Kingdom. He has also worked for BBC Sport during the 2008 Africa Cup of Nations and Euro 2008, as well as being a frequent commentator for Canal Plus in France.

In addition, he became a spokesman for Betclic, a sports betting website. Desailly joined the ITV Sport crew in 2010 to cover the World Cup in South Africa.

Desailly is a member of the 1GOAL Campaign for Education for All. He also serves as Ghana's UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador. He is a Lifetime Goodwill Ambassador for OrphanAid Africa, his own charity that aids abandoned children in Ghana. He is a Laureus Sports for Good Foundation member.

Marcel Desailly Pro Soccer, a mobile video game created by Gameloft, was launched for mobile phones in 2003. Desailly has a rating of 87 (base), 88 (mid), 91 (prime), and 92 (best) in FIFA 21 Ultimate Team (Prime Icon Moments).

Some quick facts about Marcel Desailly

Marcel Desailly signed AC Milan the next year after winning the Champions League with Marseille, and won it again the next year. His primary position in the Milan team was as a defensive midfielder, and he was entrusted with gradually replacing Club Legend

Frank Rijkaard


Filling in for Frank Rijkaard was no easy task, but he accomplished it flawlessly in his own distinct style. Let's take a deeper look at his style of play to see what made him so successful.

Desailly, as previously said, had all of the necessary characteristics to be a world-class defender and was well-known for it. People, on the other hand, often overlooked his intellect and in-depth knowledge of the game. His ability to scan the game quickly allowed him to block off key passing routes and intercept crucial passes.

His ability to regain possession and halt possible counter high up the field also helped his team generate a number of chances. Desailly also had a keen eye for a pass, and with precise long balls, he could see his teammates in hazardous positions.

A notable fact about Marcel Desailly is that he mainly functioned as a deep-lying defensive midfielder alongside Albertini at Milan, always ready to assist out in the back and also played a key part in the build-up phase.

Despite his lack of skill with the ball at his feet, his toughness and speed enabled him escape tight situations. Desailly was also a natural at winning aerial duels, which helped him score a few goals as he progressed through the ranks.

He shown real leadership from the back when playing as a CB for Chelsea. Despite the fact that he was in his team's last line, he never wanted to drop off when it came to covering an opposition forward, and he always went in for first-time tackles and won them.

Desailly was always ready to jump out of his line and make great interceptions when a few teams used a fake line between the defensive and midfield lines.

These interceptions were important, and they also sparked a number of counter-attacks. Despite frequently leaving his lines, he was always successful in regaining control. His first-time tackles were outstanding, making life difficult for opposing attackers.

There are no words to adequately explain his defensive leadership during his tenure at Chelsea. Chelsea needed a leader at the moment, and he assisted in the process of improving the squad for the future.

After winning the FA Cup with Chelsea, he went to Qatar. He also played an important role for his country, being a member of the World Cup-winning squad in 1998 and the Uefa Euro-winning side in 2000. ‘The Wall' is widely recognized as one of the greatest center backs of all time. Pele even dubbed him "one of the greatest living footballers" in 2004.

An important fact about Marcel Desailly is that his knowledge was a stabilising impact as Chelsea qualified for the Champions League for the first time and raised the UEFA Super Cup in his debut period. Strong in central defense but with the quality on the ball of someone who had played midfield in Serie A at its peak.

No one performed better than him when they won the FA Cup in 2000, and he followed up by winning the European Championships with France a few weeks later. He scored a goal that helped Chelsea return to the Champions League towards the conclusion of his Chelsea tenure.

Desailly went on to captain both Chelsea and France, and he took the youthful

John Terry

under his wing, helping him grow into an equally strong presence in Chelsea's back four. Terry took over as club captain when Desailly left in 2004, having spent more of his time with the Blues than any other club.

Marcel Desailly social media


Marcel Desailly social media

, it should be mentioned that he has an Instagram page (


) with 455k followers. In the page we can see various pictures of him with the fans and his family.

He also has a Twitter account (

@Marcel Desailly

) with more than 173k followers. He often posts new stuff on his Twitter page.

Marcel Desailly body measurements

Speaking about

Marcel Desailly body measurements

, it should be mentioned that the French legend is 6 ft 1 in (185 cm) and weighs 176 lbs (80 kg).

Marcel Desailly net worth and salary

Marcel Desailly’s net worth

is approximately $12 million, with prize money and sponsorships accounting for the bulk of his earnings.

Today he earns money from his knowledge of football. He is fluent in four languages and works as a pundit for a variety of television networks across the globe, notably ITV's coverage of the 2010 World Cup and beIN France's coverage of Euro 2016, when he formed an amusing alliance with fellow commentators Robert Pires and Arsene Wenger.

Away from sports, he has established an investment business that owns the Lizzy Sports Complex in Ghana, which includes a training center and a football school.

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source: SportMob

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