Youssef Safri

Youssef Safri
Personal information
Full name Youssef Safri
Date of birth (1977-01-03) 3 January 1977
Place of birth Casablanca, Morocco
Height 1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)[1]
Playing position Midfielder
Youth career
–1995 Olympique de Casablanca
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1996–2001 Raja Casablanca 27 (6)
2001–2004 Coventry City 91 (1)
2004–2007 Norwich City 83 (3)
2007–2008 Southampton 37 (0)
2008–2013 Qatar 90 (8)
Total 328 (18)
National team
2000–2009 Morocco 77 (9)

* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

Youssef Safri (Arabic: يوسف سفري, born 3 January 1977) is a Moroccan former footballer who currently is an assistant coach for Raja Casablanca.

Club career

Safri started his youth career at Olympique de Casablanca, which merged with Raja Casablanca in 1995. The following year, he was promoted to the senior squad.[2] He was a midfielder best known for his passing and tackling ability.

In 2001, he joined Coventry City where he played until 2004, scoring once against Sheffield Wednesday.[3] In December 2003, he had come under fire after breaking the leg of Sunderland player Colin Healy.[4] The next season, he joined Norwich City for an initial fee of £500,000 in the summer of 2004, after the Canaries had been promoted to the Premier League.

Safri became popular among the Norwich fans towards the end of the 2004–05 campaign and during the 2005–06 season following a series of impressive performances. He scored a 40-yard strike against Newcastle United in April 2005 during the team's fight against relegation from the Premiership. Safri was linked with a move to Feyenoord in the summer of 2005, but stayed at Carrow Road.

As a tribute to the player, Norwich City supporters devised a song which was sung regularly at home games, to the tune of Status Quo's 'Rocking all over the world' -

"Here we are, here we are and here we go, Youssef's better than Juninho, Moroccan all over the world!"

Following the 3–1 defeat at Plymouth Argyle in September 2006, Safri and team-mate Dickson Etuhu were reported to have traded punches on the team bus during their return journey to East Anglia, although these reports are now thought to have been discredited.[5] After Peter Grant was appointed Norwich manager in October 2006, Safri was not a regular selection. There was speculation that he would leave the club in January 2007, fuelled by his comments in the Eastern Daily Press on 29 December 2006 in which Safri indicated that he would seek a transfer if Grant continued to use him as a substitute. Safri remained at Carrow Road until the end of the 2006–07 season, but after falling out with manager Peter Grant, Grant stated in the press on 1 August that Safri would not play for the club again.[6]

On 2 August 2007 he signed for Norwich's championship rivals Southampton on a two-year contract for a fee rumoured to be of the order of £250,000. On 24 October 2007 he was sent off in the 90th minute of Southampton's away defeat to Bristol City, for a heavy tackle on Lee Johnson, whose subsequent reaction to Safri pushing him by all accounts was exaggerated, resulting in a straight Red.[7]

On 7 July 2008 he joined Qatar Sports Club, for a fee in the region of £300,000, stating his desire to move to the Gulf as the reason behind the move.[8] At the end of 2013 season he retired and started a role of assisting coach in his first club Raja Casablanca.

International career

Safri was a key player with the Moroccan national team during the 2004 African Nations Cup, and was a member of the national squad competing at 1997 FIFA World Youth Championship, the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney.

Personal life

Safri is a Muslim.[9]


Raja Casablanca
Qatar SC


  1. "Youssef Safri profile". ESPN.
  3. "Coventry 2-0 Sheff Wed". BBC. 27 October 2001. Retrieved 13 November 2009.
  5. "Norwich Players Trade Blows After Defeat". Archived from the original on 15 October 2006. Retrieved 2006-09-27.
  6. "No way back for Safri". Retrieved 2007-08-01.
  7. "Bristol C 2 Saints 1". Archived from the original on 27 October 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-25.
  8. "Safri heading to Gulf". Sky Sports. 7 July 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-07.
  9. Azam, Imran (4 May 2005). "'Safri instrumental in Norwich's impressive form". The Muslim News. Retrieved 21 December 2009.
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