Ligue 1 Star - Djibril Cissé
This week's Ligue 1 star is Marseille striker Djibril Cissé. On loan from Liverpool, the 25 year-old made his name during a six year spell with Auxerre.
Born: August 12, 1981, Arles, France
Clubs: Auxerre (1998-2004), Liverpool (2004-2006), Marseille (2006- )
National team: France (31 appearances, 9 goals)
Ligue 1 debut: March 20, 1999 (Auxerre v PSG)
Ligue 1 debut goal: August 5, 2000 (Metz v Auxerre, won 2-1)
A scorer in Tuesday night's French Cup 5-0 win over National side Vannes for Marseille, Djibril Cissé has netted goals with every club he has been with.
Cissé arrived on the French south coast in the summer of last year on a season-long loan deal from English Premiership side Liverpool. Recovering from a broken leg incurred while playing for France prior to the World Cup, l'OM recognised the qualities that Cissé possessed and felt that once fully recovered, he would offer another option up-front for coach Albert Emon.
Despite missing half the season, once he was nursed back to full health Cissé immediately began to repay the faith placed him. In his return to Ligue 1 since leaving Auxerre in 2004, Cissé came on after 61 minutes against Monaco on December 9, 2006 to an adoring Stade Vélodrome and set up Marseille's winning goal in a 2-1 win. He lasted 65 minutes in his next run out, against Nancy, before scoring his first goal in Marseille colours against Saint-Etienne three days before Christmas in a 2-1 win. As of March 1, seven more goals have followed including a hat-trick in the French Cup against Cambrai (CFA2) and one against Bayern Munich in a friendly. It is interesting to note that Marseille have not lost a competitive fixture whenever Cissé has scored.
Cissé celebrates with team-mates Ismaila Taiwo and Franck Ribéry
Eight in fifteen is an enviable goalscoring statistic although it won't come as a surprise to those who have followed Cissé's career since he made his professional debut for Guy Roux's Auxerre in 1999. Two years after signing youth forms with AJA he made his first appearance aged 17, from the bench after 76 minutes, in the 1998/99 season. The following season he made a further two substitute appearances before scoring his first Ligue 1 goal, a 90th minute winner, against Metz in Matchday 2 in 2000/01. As a reward Daniel Rolland, Guy Roux's replacement as coach, gave Cissé his first start in the following game and the Arles-born forward finished the season with eight league goals in 25 matches.
Cissé, in 2001 with Auxerre
2001/02 was the season Cissé exploded on to the scene. With 22 goals in 29 matches, which included four against Rennes in a 5-0 win, he became the league's joint top-scorer as he helped lift Auxerre up to third in the table. He carried on his good form the following year with 14 league goals in 33 matches along with a goal in the French Cup final to help AJA win their first trophy in seven years. His most successful season in Auxerre colours came the next year with 26 league goals in 38 matches (and another Ligue 1 top-scorer award) as well as two goals in seven UEFA Cup appearances.
In action for AJA in 2003
Prior to the start of the 2004 season, Cissé was courted by Liverpool and the pacy striker made the move to the home of The Beatles where he spent a further two successful seasons. However, the elation at winning three cups (the UEFA Champions League, the UEFA Super Cup and the FA Cup) in two years was blighted by the fact that he suffered a near career-ending injury, a broken leg, within three months of arriving on Merseyside. Although he made a full recovery (and scored one of the penalties that handed Liverpool their fifth European Cup against AC Milan in Istanbul), Cissé stayed just one more season in England before heading back to France, and Marseille, in a loan deal.
In Liverpool colours
The son of a footballer (father Mangue was the captain of the Ivory Coast), Djibril started his career with the Athlétic Club Arlésien alongside Gaël Givet (now at Monaco) where he soon made waves attracting the attentions of Nîmes Olympique before Auxerre and the famous coaching talents of Guy Roux came calling. Within three years he had won his first trophy with AJA, the Gambardella Cup, awarded to the country's best Under-18s team and the following year earned a call-up to the national team winning the UEFA Under-18s championship.
Before making the full team, Cissé served time in 'Les Espoirs'
Since then, Cissé has made the step up to the national team and has continued to score goals (nine in 31 appearances). Although a repeat of his broken leg injury ruled him out of the World Cup in Germany last summer Cissé made another swift recovery to feature in France's friendly against Argentina in February. Marseille will be hoping that his goalscoring powers are as strong as his recuperation ones as with a French Cup semi-final coming up along with an exciting league run-in, Marseille will need their star striker to help fire them to glory.