Rennes sign world champion Nzonzi for European push

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Rennes (France) (AFP)

Rennes, a surprising third in French Ligue 1, invested in their Champions League push when they took World Cup winner Steven Nzonzi on loan from Roma on Friday.

The 31-year-old midfielder came on as a substitute for the last 35 minutes when France beat Croatia in the 2018 World Cup final

Nzonzi started at Amiens but has never played in Ligue 1.

He moved to Blackburn at the age of 20 and then moved on to Stoke and Sevilla where he won the Europa League in 2016. He joined Rome for 30 million euros in 2018.

Roma loaned Nzonzi to Galatasaray at the start of this season. He played nine league games before the Istanbul club suspended him in December for "inappropriate behaviour" in training.

On Friday afternoon they announced they were terminating Nzonzi's contract shortly before Rennes introduced the player to fans before the kick off of their derby game against Nantes.

Rennes signed Nzonzi until the end of June with an option for an additional year.

According to media reports, the move to Rennes almost stalled over Nzonzi's salary. At Roma he was on an estimated at 3.3 million euros until the end of the season.

With Rennes third in the Ligue 1 and still in the French Cup, coach Julien Stephan had pleaded to bring in an experienced midfielder to make up for the absence of several injured players.

Stephan is the son of Guy Stephan the assistant coach on the France team.