Soccer Chat: Youri Djorkaeff
With the recent signing of his contract with the MetroStars, Youri becomes the highest profile non-American player to move to Major League Soccer since 2000. The attacking midfielder/forward started his career in Grenoble in 1984 and has played for Strasbourg, Monaco, Paris Saint-Germain, Internazionale, Kaiserslautern, Bolton and, most recently, Blackburn.
Youri made his international debut in October 1993 versus Israel and went on to play 83 times for France, scoring 28 goals and being part of the French team that won the 1998 World Cup and 2000 European championship. During his career he has also been part of teams that won the French Cup, the UEFA Cup and the UEFA Cup Winners? Cup.
The ShowGirl (9:07 AM)
Welcome to The Show! The MLS international mega-star will be here shortly. Post your comments now, we'll save them until he gets here!
Jen Chang (4:56 PM)
We're just getting set here in the studio with Youri and will begin taking questions shortly. Thanks to all of you out there who have already sent some in.
Reaser (Tumwater, Washington)
First welcome to America and Major League Soccer. Second are you going to be playing in the midfield or as a forward?
Youri (5:01 PM)
It's not certain yet, I'll play wherever the coach wants me to. It's up to him to decide the formation.
Nick from Secaucus
Youri, what do you think MLS can do to attract more stars of the game such as yourself to join teams at a younger age? Is it all about the money? Or would something else lure more players of your calibre?
Youri (5:03 PM)
One problem is the huge difference in pay scales between MLS and the European leagues, but the other issue is a lot of European players don't want to play so far from home.
Have you gotten a chance to watch the Champions League over the past couple of days? Who are your favorites to advance...and who is your choice to win?
Youri (5:04 PM)
I've been watching the games. Obviously I'm a fan of Inter so I think they can win the whole thing.
Sal, glen cove, ny
How do you think an MLS club would fare against the likes of a Milan or Blackburn?
Youri (5:06 PM)
The difference today is probably different from 3-4 years ago. Although MLS teams are still not at a level of a Milan or Manchester United, they are closing the gap. Part of the problem is that MLS teams need to play against foreign competition more.
MetroTard Joe NYC
How hard do you think the language barrier will be on the field ?
Youri (5:07 PM)
I don't think it's a problem, it wasn't a problem for me in England. I speak a lot of languages, Spanish, German, Italian etc.
Richie (State College, PA)
I'm a big Jay-Jay Okocha fan. What is it like playing with him? He's so much fun to watch play. I enjoy watching you play and wish you the best, but I'm gonna be cheering against you, being a Revolution fan.
Youri (5:08 PM)
Jay-Jay is a great player, we had a lot of great times playing together in Bolton.
Youri, Why did your former club Inter Milan buy so many attacking players and so few defenders? You were there with Ronaldo, Zamorano, Vieri, Baggio etc, but Inter have not won Serie A for 15 years.
Youri (5:11 PM)
Playing for Inter is different from any other team in the world. There's just so much transition there and they constantly bring in so many new faces. Historically they've been better in the cup than the League.
Why did you leave Blackburn so soon? And did you get on with Mark Hughes?
Youri (5:12 PM)
Mark Hughes was a great guy, I have a lot of respect for him. I left Blackburn because I wanted to return to France to think about the next steps in my career.
What is your most proud achievement in your club career?
Youri (5:13 PM)
Winning the UEFA Cup and the Cup Winners Cup.
Drew: Washington DC
Any thoughts on Freddy Adu? Ever seen him play? Any other American players that you like or watch?
Youri (5:14 PM)
Unfortunately I haven't seen Freddy play, but I've heard great things about him and some of the other young U.S. players.
Why did France flop in Euro 2004? Do you think it was because of Jacques Santini?
Youri (5:15 PM)
I think there were more problems than just Santini. I can't say for sure since I wasn't there but the feeling in France was that the team didn't have a great atmosphere.
Michael (Bethesda, Maryland)
Is the EPL the best league in the world in your opinion?
Youri (5:16 PM)
Probably for the moment, I think the EPL is the best league in the world.
Wendy (Bakersfield, CA)
Le God, what team/player did you most enjoy playing against during your time with Bolton Wanderers?
Youri (5:17 PM)
Definitely Arsenal and Manchester United - all the big teams!
Hi Youri, you were one of my favorite players at Internazionale. How do you think Roberto Mancini is doing as manager? And who would you like Inter to sign this summer?
Youri (5:18 PM)
I think Mancini is doing a good job. I think someone with a strong personality or character would be a good signing - someone like Ryan Giggs or Wayne Rooney.
Owen, Dublin, Eire
Who was/is your favourite player ever?
Youri (5:19 PM)
Maradona for me was my favorite.
andrew (denville, nj)
What is the timetable for your start with the Metrostars? Are there any visa issues that need to be worked out or are you ready to play?
Youri (5:21 PM)
No, everything is all set with visas. I'll be joining the team next week for training in Ecuador.
jeremy (cullowhee, nc)
while at Blackburn, did you talk at all to Brad Friedel about MLS, and if so, what did he tell you?
Youri (5:25 PM)
Brad speaks very good French actually so we used to talk all the time about everything and also about MLS. He did tell me about MLS, that it was a good place to play and how he wants to come back and play in MLS again before he retires.
nathan, youngstown, ohio
Do you think your arrival on American soil could lead other Frenchmen to consider the MLS as a league worth trying out? Players such as Ba, Karembeu, or even younger players such as Sochaux's Mathieu?
Youri (5:26 PM)
You have no idea how many people, friends and players, contacted me or called me after the news broke about my signing with the MetroStars wanting to talk about it. People are very excited and some of the other French players are definitely interested in checking out MLS.
Justin, Brooklyn, NY
Youri, Metro fans are excited you are here. It is an honor to have you at our club. In light of the poor attitude Lothar Matthaeus displayed while he was in the US, what is your commitment to the MetroStars and what how long do you intend to play?
Youri (5:30 PM)
Well the biggest difference between Lothar and me is that he's German and I'm French! Seriously though, we are totally different characters. I take pride in being a professional and I think my play and attitude for the MetroStars will reflect that.
Stephane, Marseille, France
Of all the managers you played for, who is the best? And why?
Youri (5:52 PM)
My favorite manager to play for was Aime Jacquet.
Bob, Summit NJ
How do you feel about playing on the turf of Giants Stadium? It's not real grass.
Youri (5:55 PM)
That's a good question. I really haven't played that much on turf in my career, so it's hard to tell. I checked out the surfact last week to see what it was like. I guess we'll have to wait and see.
david from atlanta
Youri, great to have you here in the states. Who's better platini or zidane?
Youri (5:56 PM)
Zidane is better in my opinion because he won the World Cup.
Jen Chang (6:00 PM)
Ok sorry folks, that's all we have time for. Youri needs to leave now to catch a flight back to Paris and we apologize for the brief technical glitch we had earlier.
Youri (6:00 PM)
Thanks it was great being here.
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