In one of the biggest player acquisitions of this MLS offseason, the MetroStars have signed French World Cup Champion Youri Djorkaeff. Djorkaeff most recently played for Blackburn Rovers of the English Premier League.
"I am very excited to join the club, and I am very excited about this new challenge in my playing career," said Djorkaeff. "Today is the end of a long story of sorts, because I first spoke to [MetroStars General Manager] Nick [Sakiewicz] about coming to the MetroStars four years ago. We almost came then. Since then we have stayed in contact, and over the past six or seven months we have been working really hard to get this deal done, and I am glad that we are finally coming to Major League Soccer and America."
Djorkaeff's move to the U.S. top flight is being announced to the French press Friday in Paris, while the player's introduction to the U.S. media will come on Monday.
"We are extremely excited to bring Youri to the MetroStars and Major League Soccer," said head coach Bob Bradley. "Youri's experience with the French national team and some of the best clubs in the world will be invaluable to our team. Above all else, he is a tremendous person and is truly motivated for this new challenge in his career."
A central midfielder, Djorkaeff is decorated on both the international and club fronts. He won soccer's ultimate crown in 1998 with the French national team and, in the three years that followed, helped Les Bleus to the 2000 European Championship and the 2001 Confederations Cup titles.
In 1996, Djorkaeff led Paris Saint Germain to the UEFA Cup Winners Cup, and two years later, he helped Inter Milan capture the UEFA Cup.
"We are thrilled to bring a player of this caliber, in Youri Djorkaeff, to the MetroStars and our fans," said MetroStars President and General Manager Nick Sakiewicz. "With Youri, we now have an additional seasoned veteran who is experienced at winning championships. Through the acquisition of both Youri and Jeff Agoos, we've achieved our goal of adding some accomplished winners to our squad on both the offensive and defensive sides of the game."
Over the course of a 20-year European career, Djorkaeff played for eight teams in four countries, leading his clubs to various honors and winning individual acclaim.
Djorkaeff started his career in 1984 with French Ligue 2 side Grenoble before moving on to Strasbourg in 1989. After a two-year spell with Strasbourg, he moved onto Ligue 1 side AS Monaco, where he established himself as one of the top players in Europe and the world. Monaco won the 1991 French Cup with Djorkaeff aboard, and in 1994, he led Ligue 1 in goals.
Upon departing Monaco in 1995, Djorkaeff spent one successful season with PSG and three more impressive campaigns with Inter Milan before moving to Germany for a three-year stint with Kaiserslautern. Yet another three-year spell followed, this time in England with Bolton Wanderers. Last summer, Djorkaeff joined Blackburn Rovers on a free transfer, but played just three games before being released by the club.
In all, Djorkaeff has scored nearly 200 goals in more than 500 professional appearances. With the French national team, he made 82 appearances, scoring 28 goals for his country. He becomes the third World Cup winner to play in MLS. The previous two, Germany's Lothar Matthaus and Brazil's Branco, both played for the MetroStars.
Jason Halpin is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.