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Christian Karembeu
Christian Karembeu in 2017.jpg
Karembeu in 2017
Personal information
Full name Christian Lali Kake Karembeu
Date of birth (1970-12-03) 3 December 1970 (age 53)
Place of birth Lifou, New Caledonia
Height 1.78 m
Playing position Defensive midfielder
Club information
Current club Olympiacos (sports director)
Youth career
Gaïtcha
1988–1990 Nantes
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1990–1995 Nantes 130 (5)
1995–1997 Sampdoria 62 (6)
1997–2000 Real Madrid 51 (1)
2000–2001 Middlesbrough 33 (4)
2001–2004 Olympiacos 68 (3)
2004–2005 Servette 23 (2)
2005–2006 Bastia 7 (0)
Total 395 (18)
National team
1992–2002 France 53 (1)
Honours
  • Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Christian Lali Kake Karembeu (born 3 December 1970) is a French former professional footballer who played as a defensive midfielder. He is currently the sporting director for Olympiacos.

Karembeu represented Nantes, Sampdoria, Real Madrid, Middlesbrough, Olympiacos, Servette, and Bastia. He found much success on the national stage as well representing France, having been born in the overseas territory New Caledonia, and was a vital part of the squad that won the 1998 FIFA World Cup on home soil and featured in one match in France's victorious UEFA Euro 2000 campaign.

Early life

Karembeu was born in Lifou, New Caledonia, a French overseas territory in the Pacific Islands. He played youth football for Nouméa-based Gaïtcha FCN. At the age of 17, he moved to France on a scholarship to study and play football. He was recruited as a youth player by FC Nantes and signed a professional contract with the club in 1990.

Club career

During his career Karembeu played for Nantes (1990–95), Sampdoria (1995–97), Real Madrid (1997–2000), Middlesbrough (2000–01), Olympiacos (2001–04), Servette Genève (2004–05), Bastia (2005–06). With Real Madrid, he won the Champions League in 1998 and 2000, starting in the former but remaining on the bench for the latter. He also played for the Real Madrid Veterans against Barcelona in Qatar, on 13 November 2012. He last played midfield for Bastia in the French Ligue 1. He announced his retirement on 13 October 2006, although he added that he would "be having a kickabout from time to time". He also took part in a friendly competition for Kettering Town FC with Gianfranco Zola, Les Ferdinand and Gus Poyet.

International career

Born in the French territory of New Caledonia, he was able to represent France on the international stage. He compiled 53 caps in his career, earning his first one on 14 November 1992 against Finland in a 2–1 victory.

Karembeu was a member of the French team that won the 1998 World Cup. He played in 4 matches in the tournament, including starts in the quarter-final, semi-final, and final, totalling 242 minutes.

He was also part of the victorious French team at Euro 2000.

Style of play

Described as a "complete midfielder" by Paul Sarahs of FourFourTwo, Karembeu was a physically imposing, energetic, and technically gifted two-way midfielder, who was known for his range of passing, dribbling skills, stamina, and hard-tackling playing style; he usually played in a holding role in midfield, although he was also capable of playing in various other positions, including in a box-to-box role, as a right–sided midfielder, or even as a right-back. Regarding his playing style and role in France's victory in the 1998 World Cup final, Michael Cox of ESPN FC described him as "a peculiar hybrid of a wing-back and a box-to-box midfielder," who "shuttled up and down on the right of a very defensive three-man midfield."

Post-retirement career

On 9 December 2005, Karembeu represented the Oceania Football Confederation at the draw for the 2006 World Cup which took place in Leipzig, Germany.

In May 2006 Karembeu became a scout for English Premiership side Portsmouth Football Club. In 2007, he was appointed as non-executive director of Birmingham International Holdings. He left after 2010 annual general meeting. However, in August 2009, Karembeu decided to join Arsenal's ever expanding scouting network.

In June 2013, Karembeu was handed an administrative role at Greek club Olympiacos along with former South African footballer Pierre Issa.

Commitment

Karembeu is a member of the 'Champions for Peace' club, a group of 54 famous elite athletes committed to serving peace in the world through sport, created by Peace and Sport, a Monaco-based international organization.

Deeply involved in Peace and Sport's activities, Karembeu visited Haiti in August 2010 with Founder and President of Peace and Sport, Joel Bouzou, to strengthen the role of sport in the country's reconstruction efforts and attract the attention of the international community to urgent needs that prevail there. He went to meet sports instructors and young beneficiaries of the emergency program that the Haitian Olympic Committee has set up in survivor camps.

Personal life

The great-grandfather of Karembeu, who came from New Caledonia, was one of a hundred Kanaks taken to Paris in 1931 for the Paris Colonial Exposition and exhibited there as "cannibals". Later the "cannibals" were swapped with Germany for some crocodiles. Karembeu refuses to sing France's national anthem, La Marseillaise, due to the colonial past of the country.

Karembeu was married to Slovak model Adriana Sklenařiková, whom he met on an aeroplane. The couple split in March 2011 and divorced in December 2012. Their marriage was childless. In May 2017, Karembeu married Jackie Chamoun, a Lebanese skier, in Greece, followed by a wedding ceremony in Lebanon. The couple announced the birth of their daughter on 27 September 2017.

Following the 1998 World Cup, he was made a Knight of the Legion of Honour in 1998.

Television

Karembeu is the host of French TV series "Des Iles et des Hommes" (Of Islands and Men), aired on Planete in 2010 and 2011, a travel programme visiting among 6 of the most beautiful islands of the world. He also became part of the ITV broadcast team for Euro 2016.

Career statistics

Club

Appearances and goals by club, season and competition
Club Season League National Cup League Cup Europe Total
Division Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Nantes 1990–91 Division 1 4 0 1 0 5 0
1991–92 28 0 0 0 28 0
1992–93 35 2 3 1 38 3
1993–94 29 0 4 0 2 0 35 0
1994–95 34 3 1 0 2 0 7 0 44 3
Total 130 5 9 1 2 0 9 0 150 6
Sampdoria 1995–96 Serie A 32 5 2 0 34 5
1996–97 30 1 2 0 32 1
Total 62 6 4 0 0 0 0 0 66 6
Real Madrid 1997–98 La Liga 16 0 2 0 5 3 23 3
1998–99 20 0 5 0 6 0 31 0
1999–2000 15 0 5 0 8 1 28 1
Total 51 0 12 0 0 0 19 4 82 4
Middlesbrough 2000–01 Premier League 33 4 2 0 1 0 36 4
Olympiacos 2001–02 Alpha Ethniki 24 1 7 1 6 0 37 2
2002–03 22 2 1 0 6 0 29 2
2003–04 22 0 5 0 6 0 33 0
Total 68 3 13 1 0 0 18 0 99 4
Servette 2004–05 Swiss Super League 12 0 2 0 14 0
Bastia 2005–06 Ligue 1 7 0 0 0 0 0 7 0
Total 395 18 42 0 3 0 46 4 486 22

International

Appearances and goals by national team and year
National team Year Apps Goals
France 1992 1 0
1993 0 0
1994 6 0
1995 4 1
1996 13 0
1997 4 0
1998 10 0
1999 4 0
2000 4 0
2001 6 0
2002 1 0
Total 53 1

Honours

Nantes

Real Madrid

Olympiacos

  • Alpha Ethniki: 2001–02, 2002–03
  • Greek Cup runner-up: 2001–02, 2003–04

France

Individual

  • Oceania Footballer of the Year: 1995, 1998
  • UNFP 20 Year Special Team Trophy: 2011
  • Olympiacos Golden Eleven

Orders

  • Knight of the Legion of Honour: 1998

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Christian Karembeu para niños

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