Doha (AFP)

Midfielder Steven Nzonzi, world champion with France in 2018, has signed up with Al-Rayyan, the Qatari club, coached by Laurent Blanc, announced on Tuesday.

The 32-year-old, who has signed for two seasons according to local media, is the club's second flagship signing after Colombian attacking midfielder James Rodriguez, former Real Madrid and Bayern Munich.

"I am happy to be here alongside players who have had remarkable careers in Europe," said the Frenchman, who motivated his choice by the desire to "discover something different".

Released by AS Rome, where he did not enter into the plans of José Mourinho, the former player of Rennes and Sevilla FC will officiate under the orders of his compatriot and former coach of Paris SG and Bordeaux Laurent Blanc, arrived l last year.

Nzonzi considered it "logical" to want to join a team led by the former French international defender, whose career he said he watched on TV when he was young.

"The arrival of Nzonzi in the team will have a positive effect. I am convinced that the results will improve," said Laurent Blanc for his part.

Eight-time Qatari champion, Al-Rayyan currently occupies only eighth place in the championship.

Since his debut in Amiens (L2), Nzonzi has known eight clubs and played in five different championships.

In England with Blackburn Rovers and Stoke City, in Spain at Sevilla FC, with whom he won the Europa League in 2016, in Italy at AS Rome, who loaned him to Galatasaray in Turkey, then recently in France to Rennes, where he played for a year and a half.

Selected 20 times with the Blues, he came into play in the second period during the final of the 2018 World Cup victorious against Croatia.

© 2021 AFP