It is not the ideal preparation for the World Cup in June, but former Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Didier Zokora has been released by Turkish club Trabzonspor. His contract was due to end in the summer of 2015, but the 33-year-old Ivorian has been let go and he will be clear to sign for a new side for the start of the new season.
There are said to be no offers at the moment, but the Ivory Coast centre-back has the chance to impress suitors at this summer’s football festival and try to convince clubs he is worth a new contract for the next couple of seasons.
Zokora has had a very interesting and varied career, developing as a footballer as he has moved around Europe. He first came to prominence in Belgium with Racing Genk, winning the Belgian title in his second season. That move also brought him his first international cap.
A switch to France followed, signing for Saint-Etienne in 2004, and after 66 appearances in two seasons he made the move to Spurs for around £8.2million. He spent three years in London before spending two seasons in Spain with Sevilla.
His last move came in 2011 when he signed for the Turkish club for around €5million. Although at the twilight of his career, he has spent three years in Turkey and made 78 appearances to date, this is only behind the 122 at Genk and the 88 at Spurs. He has only ever scored two league goals in his career, one as a 19-year-old at ASEC Mimosas and then again at Genk.
The Genk goal came in his final season, back in 2003/2004 – amazing to think 10 years have passed since he scored a league goal. His one and only international goal came in 2008 against Botswana, scoring in the 2010 World Cup qualifying campaign.
Now Zokora has been transformed into a centre-back for his country, and it is likely where he will start for the Elephants this summer in Brazil. If he can turn back the clock and use his vast experience to lead his Ivorian team-mates to the last 16, maybe then he can win himself another move.