Sakho in 2009
|Full name||Mamadou Sakho|
|Date of birth||13 February 1990|
|Place of birth||Paris, France|
|Height||1.87 m (6 ft 2 in)|
|Playing position||Centre back|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 13 April 2014.
† Appearances (Goals).
Mamadou Sakho (born 13 February 1990) is a French footballer who plays as a central defender for Premier League club Liverpool and the French national team. He is known for his leadership credentials, his tireless engine, hard-working attitude, and his tackling ability. He has also been praised for his "physical and tactical qualities". Sakho is also known for the eccentric hairstyles he often displays while playing, and has earned the nickname Kirikou by some supporters as a result.
Sakho started his career at Paris FC in 1996 before moving to professional club Paris Saint-Germain in 2002. After excelling in the youth system, Sakho earned a call up the senior team by manager Paul Le Guen. In October 2007, on his league debut, he became the youngest player ever to captain a Ligue 1 club after wearing the armband in the club's 0–0 draw with Valenciennes. Since making his debut with the club, Sakho has become an integral part of the team earning starting berths in the first 11 under managers Paul Le Guen and Antoine Kombouaré. Sakho's playing style and ability have led to the media and former players drawing comparisons to former French international Lilian Thuram.
Sakho is both a French youth international and senior international. He has earned caps and captained all youth levels. Before earning his first call-up to the senior team, Sakho was playing on the under-21 team serving as the captain. He earned his first call-up to the senior team in August 2010. Sakho made his senior international debut in November 2010 against England.
Early life and career
Sakho was born in Paris to Senegalese parents and was the fourth child of a family of seven children. He was raised in the northern neighborhood of Goutte d'Or, which is commonly referred to as "Little Africa". Sakho started his football career at the age of six playing for the juniors of hometown club Paris FC. In 2002, he was lured away to professional club Paris Saint-Germain. Sakho was originally a striker, but due to Paris Saint-Germain's youth team having fewer defenders than strikers, he was moved into a more defensive role.
Sakho struggled to adapt during his first year at the Camp des Loges, the headquarters of the club's youth academy, often refusing to accept orders handed out by the trainers, such as when to go to bed. At one point, he was threatened with expulsion from the club due to his constant bad behavior. Following guidance from his parents and, particularly, under-13 Paris Saint-Germain coach Christian Mas, Sakho curbed his bad behavior and began to focus on his studies and football. When Sakho was 14, his father suddenly died. The resulting pain led to Sakho considering leaving football, but he later described that idea as "useless" and returned to the club after bereavement. Sakho quickly became one of the club's most sought after prospects winning numerous MVP awards during his time in the youth academy. In April 2005, he was a part of the Île-de-France region team that won the 2004–05 Coupe Nationale. That same year, he was a part of the Paris Saint-Germain under-18 team that won the Championnat National des 18 ans league title, despite being three years younger than many of his teammates.
In total, Sakho spent nearly six years at the Camp des Loges. A day after his 17th birthday, manager Paul Le Guen called the youngster up for the club's UEFA Cup Round of 32 first leg match against AEK Athens on 14 February 2007. Sakho started the match picking up a yellow card in the 20th minute. He played 85 minutes before being substituted out as Paris Saint-Germain won the match 2–0. Sakho played his second and final match of the season in the UEFA Cup Round of 16 first leg match against Benfica, he played the full match in a 2–1 victory.
On 14 June 2007, Sakho signed his first professional contract agreeing to a three-year deal. He was officially promoted to the senior side for the 2007–08 season, despite being only 17 years old, and was assigned the first team number 3 shirt. Sakho made his first start that season for Paris Saint-Germain in the club's 3–0 win over Lorient in the Coupe de la Ligue on 26 September 2007, starting in the centre back role alongside the experienced Colombian Mario Yepes. Sakho made his league debut on 20 October against Valeciennes in a 0–0 draw. In an effort to galvanize the questionable leadership of several senior team players, such as first-team captain Pauleta and vice-captain Sylvain Armand, Le Guen named Sakho captain for the match. Sakho's role as captain made him the youngest-ever captain of Paris Saint-Germain at the age of 17 years and 8 months and also the youngest player to ever captain a side in Ligue 1. In the following match against Lyon, he was named captain again and tasked with the role of containing fellow French starlet Hatem Ben Arfa. Despite Sakho and the club putting up a strong fight, Ben Arfa scored two goals in a span of three minutes as Les Parisiens suffered a 3–2 defeat. In the club's following match against Nancy, Sakho picked up an extensive injury, which ruled him out for two months. He returned to action on 23 February 2008, playing the entire match in a 1–1 draw against Monaco. On 29 March, Sakho started and play the full 90 minutes in the Paris Saint-Germain's 2–1 victory over Lens in the 2008 Coupe de la Ligue Final. The victory awarded Sakho the first major trophy of his career. In total that season, Sakho made 16 appearances.
In the following season, Sakho made 34 total appearances contributing to the Paris Saint-Germain's successful play where the club reached as high as 2nd in the league, reached the semi-finals of the Coupe de France, and made it to the UEFA Cup quarterfinals. On 30 January 2009, due to his positive play and clubs from abroad constantly inquiring for his services, Paris Saint-Germain awarded Sakho a contract extension until the June 2012. Two weeks later, he scored his first career goal for the club in a league match against Saint-Étienne on 14 February 2009, a day after his 19th birthday. The goal gave Paris Saint-Germain a 1–0 lead and the club went on to win the match 2–1.
Sakho opened the 2009–10 season as the incumbent starter partnering either veterans Sammy Traoré or Zoumana Camara in defense. Midway through the season, Sakho was embroiled in controversy when he allegedly slapped a Le Parisien newspaper journalist at the Camp des Loges, the club's training center. Before the incident, Sakho had allegedly confronted the journalist to question the accuracy of an article he had written referring to the controversy surrounding why Sakho went to a nightclub following Paris Saint-Germain's embarrassing loss to Lorient hours earlier. Sakho reportedly insulted the journalist and then slapped him before walking away. The journalist, who preferred to remain anonymous, filed a complaint the following day with both he and the newspaper describing Sakho's attitude as "unprofessional". Paris Saint-Germain president Robin Leproux and manager Antoine Kombouaré issued an apology on the club's behalf and Sakho later apologized to the journalist by telephone.
Sakho started the 2010–11 campaign partnering with Camara in defense. He was also installed as the team's captain in the UEFA Europa League by manager Kombouaré due to the unavailability of Claude Makélélé. Midway through August, Sakho began appearing in the centre back position alongside veteran Sylvain Armand. He scored his first goal of the season on 11 September 2010 in a 4–0 victory over Arles-Avignon. In Europe, Sakho captained the team in their 5–4 aggregate victory over Israeli club Maccabi Tel Aviv in the Europa League playoff round. He accomplished this feat again in the group stage leading the team to a 2–0 victory over Ukrainian club Karpaty Lviv. On 16 October, Sakho scored the game-winning goal in a 2–0 victory over Toulouse. In the team's first match following the winter break, he scored his third goal of the campaign in Paris Saint-Germain's victory over Sochaux. After a prolonged period of negotiations, on 8 March 2011, Sakho signed a two-year contract extension with the club until June 2014. On 20 April, he captained the team to a 3–1 victory over Angers in the semi-finals of the Coupe de France. The victory inserted the club into the 2011 Coupe de France Final; the club's second consecutive appearance in the competition's final match. Paris Saint-Germain lost the match 1–0 to Lille. On 10 May, Sakho was nominated for the National Union of Professional Footballers (UNFP) Young Player of the Year award. Two weeks later, he won the honour. Sakho was also named to the organization's Team of the Year alongside club teammate Nenê.
Sakho began the 2011–12 season as the club's first-choice captain under Kombouaré. On 13 August 2011, in the club's second league match of the season, he suffered a hamstring injury. Despite initially being ruled out for three weeks, Sakho missed two months and returned to the team in its 3–1 away win over Ajaccio. He remained a fixture in the team for the rest of the autumn campaign as Paris Saint-Germain finished the first half of the league in first place position. In January 2012, Kombouaré resigned from his position. He was replaced by Italian manager Carlo Ancelotti. Under the helm of Ancelotti, Sakho retained the captaincy and appeared as a starter through March. However, after unconvincing performances in draws with Lyon, Caen, and Bordeaux, which resulted in the club losing its grip on first place, the captain was benched by Ancelotti and stripped of the captaincy. Ancelotti based Sakho's benching on the increased competition in the squad as the Italian preferred the central duo of Milan Biševac and Alex. Sakho was also questioned by club director Leonardo for being "slightly overweight".
After making a cameo appearance in the Le Classique, Sakho made his second appearance since his benching on 29 April 2012 appearing as a first half substitute for the injured Biševac against fellow title contenders Lille. In the second half, with Les Parisiens leading 1–0, Sakho conceded a penalty after fouling striker Nolan Roux. The foul also resulted in a red card. Lille converted the penalty and later went on to win the match 2–1.
On 2 September 2013, Premier League club Liverpool announced the signing of Sakho for a fee of £15 million. His début came on 16 September 2013 against Swansea City in a 2–2 draw at the Liberty Stadium. Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers had described the Frenchman as "a beast in training" prior to his début. Following his abrupt departure, on 22 September Sakho flew back to France to address and farewell PSG fans ahead of the club's clash with Monaco; the defender spoke of his love for his boyhood club and said that his story with PSG wasn't over yet. On 7 December 2013, Sakho scored his first goal for Liverpool in a 4–1 win at Anfield against West Ham United.
Sakho has been active with France at youth level. As early as the age of 13, he began featuring with regional youth sides playing for Île-de-France alongside fellow youth internationals Yacine Brahimi, Tripy Makonda, Maxime Partouche, and Sébastien Corchia. Sakho made his debut for the under-16 team on 21 March 2006 in a friendly match against Germany in a 3–1 victory. He scored his only goal for the team in their 1–0 victory over England in the Montaigu Tournament. France later won the competition defeating Italy 2–1 in the final. With the under-17 team, Sakho made his debut in the team's opening match against Cyprus in an international youth tournament. Midway through the season, Sakho was named captain by coach François Blaquart who noticed the player's leadership skills. Under Sakho's leadership, the team reached the 2007 UEFA European Under-17 Football Championship and, later, the 2007 FIFA U-17 World Cup by virtue of their semi-final appearance in the UEFA-sanctioned tournament. At the U-17 World Cup, which was held in South Korea, Sakho captained the team to a quarterfinal appearance where they lost to Spain on penalties.
Due his increased playing time with his parent club, Sakho only made four appearances with the under-18 team. He made his debut for the team on 18 December 2007 in a friendly match against Portugal and later featured in two friendly matches against Germany, one of which was played at the GAZi-Stadion auf der Waldau in Stuttgart. Similarly with the under-19 team, Sakho's play with the team was limited not only due to his playing time with Paris Saint-Germain, but also due to his commitments with the under-21 team. Despite making only four appearances with the team, he was selected to play in the 2009 UEFA European Under-19 Football Championship. Paris Saint-Germain, however, refused his participation in order to preserve the player's fitness with the player having already played in the 2009 Toulon Tournament, which was held the same month.
Sakho made his under-21 team debut on 19 August 2008 in a friendly match against Slovakia. He played in the 2009 Toulon Tournament and captained the team on two occasions serving in place of the lead captain for the tournament, Étienne Capoue, who came off the bench. On 8 September 2009, Sakho scored his first under-21 goal in a 2011 UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship qualification match against the Ukraine. The match ended in a 2–2 draw. A month later, he was installed as the first-choice captain of the team following the selection of former captain Moussa Sissoko to the senior team.
On 5 August 2010, Sakho was called up to the senior team for the first time by new manager Laurent Blanc for the team's friendly match against Norway on 11 August 2010. He didn't make his international debut in the match, but was subsequently called up by Blanc for national team matches in September and October 2010. On 17 November 2010, Sakho made his senior international debut against England in a 2–1 win at Wembley Stadium, appearing as a substitute at the start of the second half for Philippe Mexès.
On 19 November 2013, in the second leg of their 2014 World Cup qualifying play-off against Ukraine, Sakho scored his first and second international goals, giving Les Bleus a 3–2 aggregate win to qualify for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
- As of 13 April 2014
|Paris Saint-Germain||Ligue 1||2006–07||0||0||0||0||0||0||2||0||0||0||2||0|
- (Correct as of 20 November 2013)
|France national team|
|1.||19 November 2013||Stade de France, Saint-Denis, France||Ukraine||
||2014 FIFA World Cup qualification|
- Paris Saint-Germain
- Ligue 1 (1): 2012–13
- Coupe de France (1): 2009–10
- Coupe de la Ligue (1): 2007–08
- Trophée des Champions (1): 2013
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- Mamadou Sakho at National-Football-Teams.com
- Mamadou Sakho – FIFA competition record
- Mamadou Sakho – UEFA competition record
- ESPN FC profile