On Thursday, December 3, the Strategic Advisor of Olympiacos, World Champion with the national team of France and European Champion, but also world champion with Real Madrid, turned fifty years old. The reason for Christian Karembeu the living legend of French football who from 2001 onwards joined Olympiakos and remains successfully in the Greek team.
The son of Paul and Udreni, Christian was the 5th (out of 18) child in the family. Christian grew up based on the customs of the Kanak tribe. The name Karembeu, in the Konak language, means angry man. In the team of Piraeus and in general in Greece, Karembeu was loved by as few as possible.
His noble and dignified, though sometimes agile, character was appreciated. As a defensive midfielder, he played in the great victory of Olympiacos against Leverkusen for the UEFA Champions League and in great successes against the «Eternal opponent» Panathinaikos. He formed together with Giovanni and Ze Elias one of the best teams of the «red and whites» in recent years.
In the first years of his career with Nantes he won (1995) an impressive and unexpected championship. His outstanding performances led him to wear the jersey of the Italian, Sampdoria (1995 to 1997), where, despite the different roles assigned to him, he managed to adapt quickly. So some called him a «crazy horse».
From Northern Italy, in 1997 he moved to the Spanish capital and Real Madrid, where he won two Champions Leagues (1998 and 2000) and an Intercontinental Cup (1998).
At the same time he was a key member of the French national team with which he played in (53 matches – 1 goal). But here it is worth noting that he always refused to sing La Marseillaise («I feel from New Caledonia and not French and I do not understand why the archipelago is not an independent country», he had said).
With the «tricolors», he will celebrate the conquest of the World Cup in 1998 alongside Zidane, Henri and other important footballers, as well as the European Championship of 2000, but also the Cup of Confederations of 2001.
He came to Greece in 2001 when Olympiacos took him from the English, Middlesbrough. Next to the «red and whites», Christian celebrated two championships (2002 and 2003). From there he went to Servet (2004) and ended his career as a footballer with the Bastia jersey in 2006.
He became the top footballer in Oceania in 1995 and 1998 and the 3rd best player in Europe, according to the International Federation of Football History and Statistics (IFFHS).
In September 1998 he received the «Legion of Honor» medal from then-French President Jacques Chirac.
He had stated «if I was not a footballer, I could become an actor», while he has published the autobiography of «Kanak». For Karembeu, football has a philosophical dimension. «It simply came to our notice then. Football is a perpetual movement. It’s moving. Constantly. Football is global. «Before economists discovered the globalization of money, the globalization of football had been invented from the very beginning,» he will say recently in an interview with «Proto Thema».
He returned to Greece and Olympiakos on July 4, 2013, assuming the position of Management Strategy Advisor, for scouting, international relations and organization. During this time he married the famous photo model, Slovakia, Adriana Sklenarikova, with whom he divorced in 2011.
2017 opened a new path in his personal life. He married 25-year-old Lebanese beauty Jackie Chamun at the city hall of Piraeus, while the best man was the former football director of Olympiacos and now Nottingham Forest, Koulis Dourekas.
Karembeu’s second wife is a ski champion. Christian and they had their second daughter. The new member of the Karembeu family will get a Greek name, while it is noted that the couple’s four -year-old daughter also has a Greek name, since her name is Gaia. Christian Karembeu has another daughter from his relationship with Estelle Delacroix called Ines (25 years old now).
Ηε believes that Pedro Martins, the coach of Olympiacos, has improved the team a lot:
«Pedro tries to train, influence and convey to the players his own philosophy. Geometry is part of his own philosophy. Some have to try harder, some have to adapt… «
Finally, regarding the transfers, he always discusses with the president, Vangelis Marinakis:
«Of course from the coach and after a discussion with me. The final decision is up to the president, who I must say respects the opinion of others. Marinakis is a wise businessman. And he is wise because, among other things, he has his ears pricked up. As in the field, the effort is team and collective, so in decisions. The president finalizes, but respects and appreciates the collective process»