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Euro Whites: Youri Djorkaeff

10 June 2016

With Euro 2016 opening tonight, bwfc.co.uk take a look at the international career of one of Wanderers' favourite continental stars

With Euro 2016 opening tonight as host nation France take on Romania, bwfc.co.uk opens an ongoing series throughout the tournament which profiles the international careers of past players to have plied their trade at Macron Stadium and turned out at the European Championships.

Les Bleus were crowned World Champions the last time they hosted a major international finals back in 1998, before lifting the Euros two years later. As the current crop of French stars look to replicate that success, we start by looking at a former Wanderer who ended up with two winner's medals as he starred for his nation in both tournaments.

YOURI DJORKAEFF
FRANCE (1993-2002) 
82 CAPS 28 GOALS 

European Championships: 2 (EURO 1996 AND 2000) 
Best Stage Reached: WINNERS 

Tournament Appearances: 10 
Tournament Goals: 3

Eyebrows may have initially been raised when Youri Djorkaeff joined Bolton Wanderers in February 2002 in a bid to revive his fading international career. 

However, the Frenchman quickly became a talisman for the Whites, and was the first of many continental stars to cross the channel and ply their trade at the Reebok Stadium during the noughties. 

A World and European champion with France, he started his career in his homeland with lower-league side Grenoble in 1984. 

Capable of playing up front or as an attacking midfielder, the playmaker signed for Strasbourg in 1989, where a prolific 18-month stint earned him a move to top-flight side Monaco. 

A Coupe de France winner during his first season at the club, Djorkaeff’s form earned the then 25-year-old an eventual international debut for Les Bleus in 1993.

Ligue 1’s leading goalscorer in 1993/94 with 20 strikes, he did not have to wait long to replicate that form on the international stage. 

Netting five goals from eight qualifiers as France booked their place in England for Euro 1996, he then helped new club Paris Saint-Germain win the European Cup Winners’ Cup during a solitary season in the French capital. 

An ever-present throughout the tournament, Djorkaeff helped France open their campaign with a 1-0 victory over Romania, before scoring himself as they drew 1-1 with Spain in their second group match. 


Securing their spot in the knockout stages courtesy of a 3-1 victory over Bulgaria, he then converted his penalty in France’s 5-4 penalty shootout victory over the Netherlands. 

Spot-kicks were again needed to decide Les Bleus’ semi-final clash with Czech Republic, but despite Djorkaeff scoring his penalty, France lost 6-5 in the shootout to suffer an agonising exit. 

Named in the Euro 1996 team of the tournament, he signed for Internazionale and scored an impressive 17 goals during his first season in Italy, before helping the club win the UEFA Cup in 1998. 

With France qualifying automatically for the 1998 World Cup as host nation, Djorkaeff featured in all three of their group games, scoring in their last match against Denmark, as they qualified with a 100% record. 

An ever-present throughout the knockout stages, Djorkaeff helped France see off Paraguay, Italy and Croatia, before beating Brazil 3-0 to lift the World Cup in front of their home fans. 

Having signed for Bundesliga side Kaiserslautern in 1999, he then helped Les Bleus qualify for Euro 2000 in Belgium and the Netherlands while also enjoying a successful first season in Germany. 

Included in France’s starting XI for their opening game as they beat Denmark 3-0, Djorkaeff came off the bench to score the winner in their next group match against Czech Republic. 

Again utilised as a substitute as France lost their final group game 3-2 against the Netherlands, he was restored to the starting line-up for their quarter-final clash against Spain, producing another winner as they progressed courtesy of a 2-1 victory. 


Unused for their semi-final triumph over Portugal, Djorkaeff started as France faced off against Italy in the final, before being replaced by eventual match-winner David Trezeguet after 76 minutes as Les Bleus clinched a 2-1 golden goal victory to be crowned European champions. 

Winning the Confederations Cup with France in 2001 despite a tough season in Germany, Djorkaeff joined Bolton in February 2002 as he looked to cement his place in Les Bleus’ squad. 

An instant hit at the Reebok, the playmaker helped Wanderers avoid relegation before being included in France’s squad for the 2002 World Cup. 

However, it proved to be a tournament to forget for the reigning World and European Champions as they suffered a shock group-stage exit. 

Handed a start in France’s opening match as they fell to a surprise 1-0 defeat against minnows Senegal, Djorkaeff was unused in their second match as they drew with Uruguay. 

Coming off the bench as Les Bleus lost 2-0 to Denmark in their final group game, the playmaker announced his international retirement shortly after the tournament. 

Helping the Trotters avoid relegation in 2003/03, he was a League Cup runner-up with the club the following year, before leaving at the end of his contract as a firm fan favourite to spend a brief stint with Blackburn Rovers.

Finishing his career with New York Red Bulls, Djorkaeff hung up his boots in October 2006.

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