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3/31/2006 6:06 AM

Exclusive Interview!: Youri Djorkaeff Still Going Strong

Goal.com’s Clemente Lisi got a chance to chat with New York Red Bulls superstar, and former World Cup winner, Youri Djorkaeff just a few days before the start of a new MLS season to get his thoughts on his teammates, living in the Big Apple and the upcoming World Cup.

Djorkaeff doesn’t look a day over 30. Actually, he turned 38 last month and hopes this is the year he brings the MetroStars, err Red Bulls, the much-coveted MLS Cup.

Born in Lyon, France in 1968, Djorkaeff has played in almost every major European league. He started his career in 1984 with French club Grenoble, before moving to Strasbourg in 1989. A year later, Djorkaeff signed with Monaco, where he went on to win the 1994 French scoring title with 20 goals. He moved to Paris St. Germain in the summer of 1995 and was able to lift the European Cup Winners’ Cup later that season.

In 1996, he moved to Serie A after signing with Inter Milan, where he won the UEFA Cup two seasons later. In 1999, he moved to Germany after signing with Kaiserlautern. Not satisfied with the challenges of the Bundesliga, Djorkaeff moved over to the English Premier League in 2002 after signing with Bolton. Two seasons later, he transferred to Blackburn, but left the club after playing just three games.

Djorkaeff signed with the MetroStars in February 2005 and made an immediate impact. The MetroStars made the playoffs – only to be ousted by the New England Revolution, and the Frenchman ended the season as the team’s MVP with 10 goals and seven assists.

Djorkaeff has also had a glorious international career. He scored 28 goals in 82 appearances for France, winning the 1998 World Cup on home soil and 2000 European Championships in a dramatic 2-1 overtime win over Italy.

The Red Bulls kick off the season April 2 on the road against D.C. United.

Goal.com: What are your goals this season?

Djorkaeff: I’m very excited about the start of the new season. The team made some changes during the winter and added some new players. We have a renewed spirit this year. The team has really changed from last year. We look more compact. I predict that this will be a great season.

Goal.com: Do you feel a lot of pressure because of your name and what you’ve done in the past?

Djorkaeff: There’s has been a lot of expectation on me every season since I was a young player -- no matter where I’ve played. Being here is no different.

Goal.com: How are you able to compete with players that in some cases are 10 years younger than you?

Djorkaeff: I push myself everyday. I just love to play. I want people to get their money’s worth when they come to the stadium to see me. That’s really what motivates me. I’m lucky to get a chance to be on the field.

Goal.com: How do you like living in New York?

Djorkaeff: I love this city. This has become my second home. I don’t want to play for any other club. I want to stay right here.

Goal.com: I’m sure you’re going to root for France at the World Cup. What are the team’s chances of winning the title? Will we see a repeat of 1998?

Djorkaeff: The French have a very good chance of winning the World Cup. They have Zinedine Zidane, who continues to be a great player, and because of him they have a real shot at going far. Yes, it could be a repeat of 1998. The only problem is that Brazil is playing like they are on top of the world. There are very few teams that can beat Brazil, but I feel that France is one of them.

Clemente Lisi is a freelance writer living in New York

goal.com
 

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Mourinho & Cassano!!
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I went to the stadium to watch him once when he first started playing for NY/NJ......:shades:

It was nice seeing him in person, and quite a lot of the crowd were Inter fans, looked like the San Siro more than New York
 

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The guy is an armenian,THE BEST PLAYER EVER darn he is a wonderful person too,there are a lot of stars out there who are armenians but do not reveal that ,BUT Yurik even came to armenia went to our HOLY CHURCH,i love the guy,He anounced to the world that my mom s an armenian n i m an armenian but i was born in france n when i started to play for france there was no armenian nt,I APRECIATE N LOVE DJORKAEFF my dream is that one day hell come n play for our PYUNIK!!!!!!!!!!!!
 
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