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Mohamed Lamine "Momo" Sissoko Gillan (born 22 January 1985 in Mont-Saint-Aignanmarker) is a Frenchmarker-born Malianmarker footballer who is currently playing for Juventus of the Italianmarker Serie A and the Malian national team. Although he could have elected to play for France internationally, he chose to play for his native country Mali. Sissoko is a tough tackling defensive midfield player. He is often compared to Patrick Vieira due to their similarities in playing style.

Sissoko is the nephew of former African Footballer of the Year Salif Keïta, who, like Sissoko, played for Mali and Valencia CF. Salif Keita is also the uncle of FC Barcelona midfielder Seydou Keita. Both Sissoko and Seydou Keita play similar roles as hard-tackling central defensive midfielders. Sissoko is sometimes referred to as "the Black Ninja". He is of no relation to soccer player Moussa Sissoko who plays for Toulouse Football Club.

Club career

Valencia

Sissoko played for Valencia CF between 2003 and 2005. At the time, the manager of Los Che was current Liverpool coach Rafael Benítez, who eyed the Malian player as a talented youngster with obvious potential to turn into a top-notch defensive midfielder. Up until then, Sissoko had always played as a striker for AJ Auxerre, but began adapting to his new role under his new manager.

2003-04 was a very successful year for Valencia and moderately so for the Malian player. Los Che were crowned La Liga and UEFA Cup champions, while Sissoko totaled nine matches and one goal in a friendly fixture for his new club. The following year, Benítez left to coach Liverpool and was replaced by Claudio Ranieri (former Juventus manager), which led to the chance for Sissoko to firmly establish himself in the starting line-up, as the Italian manager quickly became quite fond of the newly-formed defensive midfielder. In his second season at the Estadio Mestallamarker, Sissoko played 21 matches in the Spanish League, and made himself known to the world by his performances in La Liga and the UEFA Champions League.

Liverpool

Sissoko moved from Valencia to Liverpool in the summer of 2005 for a fee reported at £5.3 million. Fans of Valencia were devastated when the player they affectionately refer to as "Black Gold" decided to move on. He had been expected to sign for Liverpool's rivals Everton but ultimately plumped for the opportunity to work again with former Valencia boss, Rafael Benítez. Liverpool manager Benítez showered praise upon him when he said Sissoko possessed "incredible ability for his age" and similar qualities to Frenchman Patrick Vieira. His early career, like Vieira's, was marked with disciplinary problems as he tends to pick up yellow cards for late or reckless tackles. However, his fierce competitiveness was effective for Liverpool, and he soon became something of a fan's favourite as shown in the tribute by Liverpool fans in the form of a large Mali flag with the Scouse phrase "Momo is Boss" adorning it.

There were fears for Sissoko's eyesight in his right eye after his retina was severely damaged after he was accidentally kicked in the head by S.L. Benfica's Beto in the first leg of their Champions League knockout round tie in February 2006. Sissoko has made a recovery and returned in the 6th round of the FA Cup against Birmingham City wearing a pair of goggles, where Liverpool won the game 7-0.

The 2006-07 season got off to a flying start for Sissoko with victory for Liverpool in the FA Community Shield and Sissoko taking the man of the match award. Sissoko's season had been put on hold due to an arm injury he suffered at Birmingham City in the Carling Cup in early November. On 29 January 2007, it was announced that Sissoko would be fully fit for Liverpool's local derby match against Everton on 3 February . However, he made his comeback from injury by playing against Newcastle United in a game which Liverpool lost 2-1. Sissoko's first real test after coming back from injury was in the Champions League against FC Barcelona, the current title-holders at the time. Sissoko was awarded the man of the match award by UEFA. However, for the remainder of the season, he would compete for the holding position in the centre of Liverpool's midfield with newly arrived Argentinemarker Javier Mascherano. He would be largely unsuccessful, and Mascherano started in the 2007 UEFA Champions League Final ahead of Sissoko. This led to people questioning whether he would leave Liverpool, with notable clubs such as Juventus and Barcelona reportedly interested. However, on 28 June, Sissoko signed a contract to extend his Liverpool career a further four years, keeping him at Liverpool until 2011. It was later revealed that Sissoko had indeed received an offer from Juventus, but he turned them down as Liverpool are a "bigger club".On 25 August 2007, in a match against Sunderland at the Stadium of Lightmarker, Sissoko started in place of the injured Steven Gerrard in Liverpool's central midfield. In the match, Sissoko finally scored his first ever competitive goal in his club career, a long-range first-time effort from 25 yards out, assisted by Andriy Voronin. It was Sissoko's first domestic league goal in his career, in his 75th appearance for the club. The goal also marked Liverpool's 7000th goal in league football.

Juventus

On January 29 2008, Liverpool confirmed the sale of Sissoko to Juventus for a fee of €11 million. He made his first appearance for the club on 3 February 2008, coming in as a 67th minute substitution for Tiago. Sissoko scored his first goal for Juventus with an overhead kick from seven yards out in a league match against Fiorentina on 2 March 2008. It was the equalising goal as Fiorentina were leading 1-0 but Juventus eventually went on to lose that match 3-2. Sissoko is a Juventus fan favorite and regular in the starting XI. He was quoted as saying that he knew the old saying "You don't score, until you score". [sic]

Honours

Valencia
Liverpool


Statistics

Correct as of 23 January 2009
Club Performance
Club Season Serie A Coppa Italia --------- Europe Others Total
App Goals App Goals App Goals App Goals App Goals App Goals
Juventus 2008-09 22 2 3 0 0 0 7 0 - - 32 2
2007-08 15 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 15 1
Club Season Premiership FA Cup League Cup Europe Others Total
App Goals App Goals App Goals App Goals App Goals App Goals
Liverpool 2007-08 9 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 10 1
2006-07 16 0 0 0 2 0 9 0 1 0 28 0
2005-06 26 0 6 0 0 0 11 0 2 0 45 0
Club Season Primera Div Spanish Cup --------- Europe Others Total
App Goals App Goals App Goals App Goals App Goals App Goals
Valencia 2004-05 24 0 0 0 - - 5 0 0 0 29 0
2003-04 21 0 4 0 - - 9 1 0 0 34 1
Total 127 2 10 0 2 0 40 1 3 0 182 4


References

External links




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