LYON, France (AFP) –
French back-row forward Sebastien Chabal signed a two-year deal with rock-bottom Lyon on Friday, insisting he was looking forward to his new career even if it meant playing in the second division.
The 34-year-old, who quit Racing Metro under a cloud earlier in the season, is expected to earn around 250,000 euros a year, compared to 360,000 at Racing, according to media reports.
But he is likely to double that sum through image rights.
“When I arrived this morning I knew that I had not made a mistake,” said Chabal.
“Everything here tells me there is a future to build. I have 15 years of professional experience behind me. I have already had a great career.”
Bearded Chabal, who has gained iconic status in the game, earning the nickname “Caveman”, played for Bourgoin (1998-2004) and Sale (2004-2009) before switching to Racing Metro in 2009.
He played in two Six Nations-winning French sides in 2007 and 2010, winning 62 caps in all, and was an English Premiership winner in 2005 at Sale.
“The officials at Lyon approached me when I left Racing in February. I was even thinking of retirement but I wanted to have another go,” said Chabal.
Even if Lyon are relegated to the second division, Chabal said the arrival at the club of the likes of Welsh international prop Huw Bennett and backs Fabien Cibray and Julien Dumora was a cause for optimism.
“I was seduced by the Lyon project. This will be my last sporting challenge but it’s the start of a great adventure.”