Youri Djorkaeff
Jason Halpin/MLSnet.com

Djorkaeff fulfills 'dream' with Metros

MetroStars midfielder Youri Djorkaeff met the New York media Monday for the first time since signing with the team on Friday, saying it was a 'dream' of his to play for the Metros.

"This club, this city was my last dream. I was a lucky guy during all of my career. I have many things: many victories, many successes," he said. "It's a long story. I wanted this story. I wanted this deal." The portion of Djorkaeff's story that includes the former French international in a MetroStars jersey has been nearly four years in the making.

In late 2001, Djorkaeff was preparing to leave German club FC Kaiserslautern after a disagreement with coach Andreas Brehme. At that time, Djorkaeff's brother Denis, who also serves as his agent, visited MetroStars general manager Nick Sakiewicz to discuss a potential move to the United States. Because Djorkaeff was in high demand at the time, Sakiewicz said, the Metros couldn't compete with the money Bolton Wanderers were offering the player and their pursuit ended.

Now, with Djorkaeff being released by Blackburn Rovers in the middle of the English Premier League season, the Metros have been able to get their man. Though both Djorkaeff and Sakiewicz declined to discuss exact monetary values -- thereby keeping with MLS policy -- the player who helped France win the World Cup in 1998 is reportedly being paid less than what he used to earn in Europe. Djorkaeff said he doesn't care about the money. He said his only goal is 'winning.'

"Dreams have no price," he said. "It's simple like this."

The deal that Djorkaeff signed with MLS and the MetroStars is a one-year contract, Sakiewicz confirmed. There is also a one-year option that may be exercised by the player or the team.

"As long as he's healthy, as long as he's having fun and as long as we're winning, he can play as long as he likes," Sakiewicz.

Where Djorkaeff will play is still up in the air. In the past, he has been used as both an attacking midfielder and a forward. He said he will feel comfortable in whatever position Metros head coach Bob Bradley chooses for him.

"It was one of the first discussions with the coach," Djorkaeff said. "I said to the coach, if you need me in front, I can play in front. If you need me behind the strikers, I can play behind the strikers. I can play right, left. I am at the [disposal] of the club, of the team, of the manager."

Djorkaeff also said there is no conflict between him and 2004 MLS MVP Amado Guevara, who has run the Metros' midfield for the past two seasons. Some have speculated that they're might not be enough room for both players, but Djorkaeff said the combination of the Honduran and the Frenchman can only lead to success.

"The more you have good players, the less it's complicated. The more you have quality, it's like this," Djorkaeff said. "It's easy when you have good players running and playing with you. It's very easy."

In addition to getting to know Guevara and the rest of his new teammates, Djorkaeff will have plenty of things to get used to in the coming weeks and months. For example, he said he has rarely played in July, and therefore, he has to grow accustomed to the summer heat in the United States. Also, he is unsure of how the artificial turf at Giants Stadium will affect his play.

Sakiewicz said those things will take time, but he expressed his confidence that his new signing will be able to handle those adjustments. Sakiewicz said a veteran leader, which Djorkaeff is expected to be, will be able to adjust to any hardship and help younger players along, as well.

"We made it our mission to get experienced guys who have made it through the long part of the season, the hard part of the season to help our young players, and we feel that we're a stronger team as a result," Sakiewicz said.

Jason Halpin is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.