Sakho: Parisian to the bone
With anticipation for Sunday night's Classique reaching fever pitch, Paris Saint-Germain central defender Mamadou Sakho spoke exclusively to beIN Sport about what the big clash means to him.
Born in Paris' 19th arrondissement 23 years ago, Mamadou Sakho is one Parisian who will be wearing his heart on his sleeve on Sunday night. A passionate PSG fan, he joined his favourite club at the age of 12 and captained the team for the first time at the age of 17. For Sakho, PSG versus OM is more than just a simple game of football.
"When I was young I used to watch the Classique with all my mates in the neighbourhood," he recalled. "There was always a lot of chatter, a lot of bets going down… There was great tension surrounding these games and we always looked forward to them."
Living the dream
Sakho signed his first professional contract aged 17 and soon found himself living his dream as he took to the Parc des Princes pitch to do battle with the arch enemy OM.
"It was a very special moment for me. I've always been a PSG fan, I used to go to the Parc des Princes as a kid, starting when I was seven or eight, so to be able to defend the colours of my team on the pitch was very emotional."
Sakho has a host of fond memories of past Classiques - his first was as a late substitute in a 4-2 win in Marseille back in season 2008-09 and his second a 3-1 loss at the Parc des Princes later that season - but he doesn't hesitate when asked to evoke his worst memory.
"Last season. Honestly, I was totally gutted," he admitted. "When I went home I didn't speak to anyone, I took my phone off the hook. This fixture means so much to me and losing 3-0 down there… It was tough. I didn't feel like eating. I was totally demoralized until the next day, but then slowly you turn the page. But last season's defeat hurt me very badly."
Ever the fan...
Still a supporter at heart, Sakho relishes the atmosphere of these games and explained that he will be listening out for his favourite chant on Sunday.
"It's a chant they do between stands. It starts in the upper tier, then the lower tier replies… Then they all jump together!"