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Football

Desailly ends his Chelsea contract


LONDON, July 6 -- Chelsea captain Marcel Desailly ended his six-year association with the London club on Tuesday, the latest player to depart under new coach Jose Mourinho.

The premier league club said the French World Cup and European Championship winner, who will turn 36 in September, had ended his contract by "mutual consent."

A statement on the Chelsea website said: "He is returning to the south of France to consider his future and decide whether or not he wants to continue playing."

Desailly's departure comes soon after the vastly experienced defender, capped 116 times by France -- more than any other player in French football history -- announced his international retirement.

Desailly made 222 appearances for Chelsea after joining in 1998 from AC Milan.

He won the FA Cup, the Charity Shield and the UEFA Super Cup with the club where he was nicknamed "The Rock" for his defensive qualities.

Portuguese Mourinho, who took over from the sacked Claudio Ranieri after guiding Porto to Champions League glory, has moved quickly to revamp a squad that finished second behind Arsenal in the league last season.

Argentina midfielder Juan Sebastian Veron, loaned to Inter Milan, and striker Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, released from the final year of his contract, have been ushered through the Stamford Bridge exit.

Danish winger Jesper Gronkjaer and Dutch defender Mario Melchiot have been linked with a move to premier league rivals Birmingham City while Argentina striker Hernan Crespo failed to turn up for a pre-season meeting on Monday.

Mourinho said he had not heard from the player or his agent.


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