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Last Updated: Tuesday, 6 July, 2004, 11:41 GMT 12:41 UK
Desailly leaves Chelsea
Desailly won the FA Cup in 2000
I feel the need and desire to try other things but I'm not announcing my retirement
Marcel Desailly
Veteran defender Marcel Desailly has left Chelsea after ending his contract by mutual consent.

He joined the Stamford Bridge club in 1998 from AC Milan for £4.6m having played for Nantes and Marseille.

Desailly was captain of France during the recent European Championship but retired from international football after their quarter-final defeat.

But the 35-year-old told his personal website he is not ready to retire: "I haven't arrived at the end yet."

Desailly intends to return to the south of France to consider his future after six years in London.

"I just want to give myself time to think and why not seize a new challenge?," said Desailly.

"I experienced fantastic things with the 'Blues' but at 35 I feel the need and desire to try other things, to get a fresh start.

"But at this moment in time I'm not announcing my retirement."

Desailly becomes the second high-profile departure under new boss Jose Mourinho after Juan Veron.

He will be a guest of honour for Chelsea's first Premiership game of the season at home to Manchester United on 15 August.

Desailly won the World Cup in 1998, the 2000 European Championship and won a national record 116 caps for his country.

He won the league and European Cup with both Marseille and AC Milan.

Veron has joined Inter Milan on a season-long loan after failing to impress during his first season at Chelsea.

Argentine striker Hernan Crespo is expected to follow Desailly and Veron out of the club after failing to report for a pre-season meeting on Monday.

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