French football has been the Djorkaeff family business for almost half a century now. Where respected former international Jean blazed a trail, 36-year-old Youri followed. 'The snake', as Djorkaeff junior is affectionately known, even fulfilled the dreams of his father in becoming a world champion in 1998 and European champion two years later. It was the perfect tribute to the man nicknamed 'Tchouki', now 65, whose FIFA World Cup career was limited to three matches on English soil in 1966.
The two men, who bear a striking resemblance to each other, rattled up no less than 130 France caps between them, with Jean collecting 48 and his son 82. Trained to be a striker, Djorkaeff senior ultimately enjoyed his best years as a full-back, while the 'free electron' role perfected by Youri remains difficult to define to this very day. Floating between the midfield and the forward line, he netted 28 times for Les Bleus, making him France's fifth-highest goalscorer of all time.
Jean spent 15 years as a professional for some of the biggest clubs in Ligue 1, including Lyon, Marseille and Paris Saint-Germain, and built himself a reputation as a model footballer, respected for his seriousness, team spirit and down-to-earth accessibility. He captained France on 24 occasions and made his final appearance in a blue shirt in a 3-1 victory over Greece in Athens on 2 September 1972 .
More recently, he became President of the French Federation's French Cup committee in the 2000-01 season, thus reacquainting himself with the competition he won twice with two different clubs. Today, Jean divides his time between his work for the FFF and his role as a grandfather, so when Fifa.com mentioned the possibility of a third Djorkaeff turning out for Les Bleus, he could not conceal a very broad grin: "We can always hope!"
Fifa.com: When Youri first told you he wanted to become a footballer, did you encourage him or try to dissuade him?
Jean Djorkaeff: Neither. I gave him the chance to really put himself to the test. Youri started out as a youngster with Décines (in the suburbs of Lyon), and after that I got him a place with Saint-Priest, a feeder club for Olympique Lyonnais. When I saw he had what it takes to enjoy a career in this sport, I got right behind him. I gave him everything he needed, even if at that age the future is always uncertain.
What did you make of his decision?
It made a lot of sense seeing as the whole family was immersed in football. In fact, all three of my sons have been players, Denis in the third division with Saint-Priest and Micha as a professional. As long as they did well in their studies and had the skills to succeed in the game, there was no reason not to be happy. But I was wrong at the start, I thought it was Denis who had the most talent… (smiles).
Having started out as a striker yourself, did you have any influence on your son's development as an attacking player?
I may have begun as a striker, but Pierre Pibarot quickly decided after a few training sessions that I was more comfortable in a defensive role. But the issue never came up with Youri, because he was just naturally more attacking than defensive. It was never in his nature to chase back after an opponent.
Were you worried that Youri would find it hard to live up to your name at the start of his career?
Yes, because people always love to make comparisons. What's more, people think that if your Dad was a former international everything is much easier for you, which is completely wrong. The son always ends up being judged according to his father's career. I told Youri he should never be satisfied with an average performance. And he very quickly imposed his personality by showing everyone that the talents he has are all his own.
How did you feel when Youri was crowned a World and European champion?
When you've been a professional and your son wins the World Cup, it naturally makes you immensely proud and very happy for your child. You share the euphoria of the success with him. Youri's managed to carry the torch for the whole family and perpetuate the Djorkaeff name through this sport, and that's all the more impressive when you consider how much the world has changed.
Can you see your family scoring a hat-trick?
I have nine grandchildren, including two girls. There's always hope (laughs)!
Born 27 October 1939 in Charvieu (Rhône)
International appearances: 48 (including 24 as captain) between 1964 and 1972.
First appearance: Luxembourg-France in Luxembourg, 4 October 1964.
(Qualifier for 1966 FIFA World Cup England).
International goals: 3.
Clubs: Saint-Maurice-de-Beynost, Olympique Lyonnais (FRA/1958-1966), Olympique de Marseille (FRA/1966-1970), Paris Saint-Germain (FRA/1970-1972), Paris FC (FRA/1972-1974).
Top-flight debut: Lyon-Limoges (28 December 1958; 2-1).
Honours: French Cup winner in 1964 (Lyon) and 1969 (Marseille), French Cup finalist in 1963 (Lyon), Cup Winners' Cup semi-finalist in 1964 (Lyon).
Coaching career: Union Générale Arménienne de Décines (1975-1980), FCAS Grenoble (D2: 1981-1983), AS Saint-Etienne (D1: 1983-1984), assistant coach for France, alongside Henri Michel (1986-1987), Union Générale Arménienne de Décines (1988-1991).
Born 9 August 1968 in Lyon
International appearances: 82 between 1993 and 2002
International goals: 28
First appearance: France-Israel on 13 October 1993 (2-3)
Last appearance: Denmark-France on 11 June 2002 (2-0)
First international goal: Italy-France on 16 February 1994 (0-1)
Last international goal: France-Korea Republic 30 May 2001 (5-0)
Honours: 1998 FIFA World Cup winner, UEFA Euro 2000 winner, FIFA Confederations Cup 2001 winner, UEFA Euro 1996 semi-finalist, Cup Winners' Cup winner 1996, French Cup winner 1991, Top scorer in Ligue 1, 1994 (20 goals).
Clubs: Grenoble (FRA/1984-89), Strasbourg (FRA/1989-90), Monaco (FRA/1990-95), Paris Saint-Germain (FRA/1995-96), Inter Milan (ITA/1996-99), Kaiserslautern (GER/1999-2002), Bolton (ENG/Feb 2002-2004), Blackburn (ENG/Sep-Dec 2004), New York Metro Stars (USA/April 2005- ...)