The Portland Timbers today announced that the club has signed French defender Mikael Silvestre. Portland acquired the first right of refusal to Silvestre from Seattle Sounders FC in exchange for a first-round pick in the 2014 MLS Supplemental Draft and a conditional 2015 draft pick.
Silvestre, 35, has played at the highest levels in Europe throughout his career, including 11 seasons in England’s Premier league with Manchester United (1999-2008) and Arsenal (2008-10), winning five Premier League titles and the 2007-08 UEFA Champions League. The 17-year veteran has earned 40 caps with the France National Team and played in the 2006 FIFA World Cup. Silvestre has made 87 total appearances in the UEFA Champions League during his career.
“Mikael will bring a tremendous amount of experience and a presence on the field and in the locker room,” said Caleb Porter, Timbers head coach. “He is a quality player on both sides of the ball and his impact will certainly go a long way in helping to solidify our back line. Mikael made a very positive impression on the players and our coaching staff during his two-week trial and we are very excited to welcome him to the Timbers organization.”
Born in Chambray-lès-Tours, France, Silvestre played the last two seasons in the German Bundesliga with Werder Bremen. He played in 27 league games during his time with the club, despite missing a majority of the 2011-12 campaign due to injury. He scored in the 2010-11 season finale, contributing to a 2-0 win over Borussia Dortmund on July 5, 2011.
Silvestre has spent a majority of his career with Manchester United, making 361 appearances across all competitions and scoring 10 goals over nine seasons with the club from 1999-2008. He played in 249 league games, helping United capture five Premier League championships. Additionally, Silvestre contributed to Manchester United’s 2007-08 UEFA Champions League title run, playing in two games, and was also a member of the club’s 2003-04 FA Cup and 2005-06 League Cup winning sides.
Following his time with Manchester United, Silvestre played two seasons for Arsenal, making 46 appearances across all competitions and scoring three goals. He also played in nine UEFA Champions League matches for Arsenal, helping the club reach the semifinal of the 2008-09 tournament.
Silvestre started his career with French side Rennes and played his first professional season in 1995-96 after coming up through the club’s academy. He played one season in Italy’s top-flight Seire A with Internazionale, playing in 18 league games during the 1998-99 campaign.
Silvestre made his debut for the France National Team in 2001 and was a part of France’s teams that won the FIFA Confederations Cup in 2001 and 2003. He helped France to the final of the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany, starting in a group stage match against Togo on June 23, 2006. As a youth, Silvestre helped guide France to the 1996 U-18 European Championship and competed with the France U-20 National Team in the 1997 FIFA U-20 World Cup.