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Player Profile: Cissokho

Aly Cissokho

Full name: Aly Cissokho

Position: Defender

Date of birth: 15 September 1987

Birthplace: Blois, France



Few players can match the meteoric rise to stardom of Aly Cissokho. In less than one calendar year the left-back progressed from playing for a modest French second division outfit to a stellar performance in front of over 70,000 fans at Old Trafford in the Champions League quarter-final. (Manchester United 2-2 FC Porto)


But taking a closer look at the attributes of the defender, perhaps we should not be so surprised at his rapid rise to the top. Cissokho’s surging runs down the left flank, superb crossing ability, strength in the tackle and ever-improving positional sense proves he has all the tools to become one of the world’s leading left-backs.


There is a considerable school of thought that argues the full-back has become the most important position in modern football. Cissokho’s impact on an FC Porto team struggling to move into top gear lends weight to that argument.


The player arrived at the Estadio do Dragao after just five months at Setubal in the January 2009 transfer window. Coach Jesualdo Ferreira had no hesitation in throwing the 21-year-old straight into the first team. The French-born defender showed some nerves in his first games, but quickly settled to become an undisputed starter, playing a key role as Porto went on a run of 13 victories and 2 draws in 15 league matches to claim the Portuguese championship.


Complete confidence

The unbounded confidence Ferreira showed in Cissokho had a galvanising effect on his performances, culminating in that memorable display at Old Trafford as FC Porto were unlucky to be denied victory at the reigning European champions. Not content to rest on his laurels, Cissokho continued to work hard, especially on the defensive side of his game, and looks ever more the finished article.


Little wonder, therefore, that a host of European clubs were soon linked with a summer swoop for the defender. While the heady pace of his career progression has taken most by surprise, the coach who gave Cissokho his debut in Portugal at Setubal, Dauto Faquira, says it is a natural consequence of his faultless attitude to the game:


“Cissokho always wants to learn more. He came from the lower leagues in France, but showed right from the off a hunger to learn. He put enormous effort into training, he wanted to develop, he made a big effort to learn Portuguese and absorb all the information transmitted to him. He’s a very ambitious and competitive youngster.”


by Tom Kundert (28/05/2009)

FC Gueugnon220
Vitoria Setubal130
 FC Porto**140

* League appearances only

** Up to 25 May 2009

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