Vol. 4 Num 98 Tue. September 02, 2003  

Finally Makelele

Chelsea have completed the 24 million euro (26.2 million dollar) transfer of French midfielder Claude Makelele from Real Madrid, the English Premiership side said Monday on the club's web site.

The move appeared threatened on Sunday when the player's agent Marc Roger said the deal might not go ahead because Real were refusing to give the player his slice of the transfer fee.

Real sporting director Jorge Valdano said from Madrid that Makelele had relinquished his claims to his 15 per cent cut.

Chelsea said the player signed under 12 hours before the Champions League qualifying deadline.

"The 30 year old has signed a four year contract, moving for an undisclosed fee. He immediately set off to join up with the France squad who are playing Cyprus and Slovenia," Chelsea said on their web site.

Before going Makelele told Chelsea TV: "Everbody is talking about Chelsea. Real Madrid is no different to anyone. Everybody is talking about the ambition of the London club."

The Congo-born midfielder went on strike last month in protest at Madrid's refusal to increase his salary of 1.2 million euros which he claimed was a fifth of what the likes of Ronaldo, Zinedine Zidane and David Beckham earn.

He was expected to triple his wages at Chelsea, who have now spent some 160 million euros this summer on new stars since Russian oil billionaire Roman Abramovich took over in July.

Chelsea chief executive Trevor Birch said Makelele was their last signing.

"Thats it. No more. We've finished," he said.

Makelele, who will take the Number 4 shirt at Chelsea, joined Real Madrid in 2000 for 14 million dollars from Celta Vigo, having previously played for French sides Nantes and Olympique Marseille.


AFP, Paris

Factfile on France international midfielder Claude Makelele who was due to move from Real Madrid to English Premiership side Chelsea.

Name: Claude Makelele
Date of birth: 18 Feb 1973
Birthplace: Kinshasa (Congo)
Nationality: French
Height: 1.70m (5ft 6in)
Weight: 70kg (11 stone)
Position: midfielder
Clubs: Brest (1991-92), Nantes (1992-97), Marseille (1997-98), Celta Vigo (SPA/1998-2000), Real Madrid (SPA/2000-2003)


French caps: 24
First cap: 22/07/1995, Norway vs France (0-0)
Last cap: 02/04/2003, Israel vs France (1-2)

HONOURS Intercontinental Cup (2002)
Champions League (2002)
European Super Cup (2002)
French championship (1995)
Spanish championship (2001, 2003)
Spanish Super Cup (2001)