Cissokho playing for Lyon in 2010
|Full name||Aly Cissokho|
|Date of birth||15 September 1987|
|Place of birth||Blois, France|
|Height||1.81 m (5 ft 11 in)|
|Playing position||Left back|
|2013–2014||→ Liverpool (loan)||15||(0)|
|2015||→ Porto (loan)||2||(0)|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 0:01, 6 May 2016 (UTC).
Aly Cissokho (French pronunciation: [ali sisɔko], born 15 September 1987) is a French professional footballer who plays for Aston Villa, and the France national team. He plays as a left back and has been described as a "sprightly left-back with good speed and stamina".
Cissokho began his career playing for local clubs within his hometown, such as Blois Foot 41. In 2004, he signed with professional club FC Gueugnon and spent three years in the club's youth system before making his debut in the 2006–07 season. He spent only one season at the club and, in June 2008, signed with Portuguese club Vitória de Setúbal in the Portuguese Liga. After spending only half a season with the club, Cissokho departed Vitória for the league's defending champions Porto, where he won the Portuguese league and cup double and played in the UEFA Champions League for the first time. In July 2009, after a failed transfer attempt to Italian club Milan, he signed a five-year contract with French club Lyon for a fee of €15 million. At the beginning of the 2012–2013 season Cissokho was sold to Valencia CF and was subsequently loaned to Liverpool for the 2013–14 season.
Cissokho was born and raised in Blois, the capital city of the Loir-et-Cher département, to Senegalese parents. He grew up learning the sport of football from his three older brothers who are also football players. Mamadou, the eldest, and Demba remain in Blois playing for local amateur clubs AFM Blois and Blois Foot 41, respectively, while Issa plays for professional club Nantes in Ligue 1.
Cissokho began his football career at the age of eight playing for AMJ Blois. He spent four years in the club's benjamins section and, in 1999, joined the biggest club in the city, Blois Foot 41. While at the club, Cissokho settled into his role as a left back with his coaches describing him as a player with great potential. Following his move from Porto to Lyon, Blois were compensated €162,500 due to an agreement Blois reached with both Gueugnon and Porto. The payment helped the club achieve some stability after a few years of financial difficulties. After four years at Blois, Cissokho had a year's stint at FCO Saint-Jean-de-la-Ruelle. In 2004, while playing with Saint-Jean-de-la-Ruelle, Cissokho was spotted by the assistant manager of professional club FC Gueugnon Jean Acédo who recommended that the player join his club, who were playing in the second division of French football, Ligue 2. In July 2004, he signed with the club and was inserted into the club's youth academy.
After two years in the club's academy and another two years in the reserves, Cissokho made his professional debut on 25 May 2007 in a league match against Metz. He started and played the entire match in a 2–1 victory. Following the season, Cissokho signed his first professional contract agreeing to a three-year deal until June 2010. He was, subsequently, promoted to the senior team for the 2007–08 season and assigned the number 3 shirt by manager Alain Ravera. Under Ravera, Cissokho struggled for playing time often being utilized as a substitute, however, after the sacking of Ravera in October 2007, he was inserted into the starting lineup by new manager Alex Dupont. He appeared in 22 league matches during the campaign, starting in 15, but could not prevent Gueugnon from finishing dead last in the league, which meant relegation to the Championnat National.
On 2 June 2008, Portuguese first division club Vitória de Setúbal confirmed on its website that the club had signed Cissokho to a three-year contract until 2011. He made his debut for the club on 22 August 2008 in a derby match against Vitória de Guimarães playing the entire match in a 1–1 draw. Cissokho appeared in 15 league matches for the club and, also, made his European debut in a UEFA Cup match against Dutch club SC Heerenveen.
After positive displays for Vitória de Setúbal, on 9 January 2009, the defending champions Porto announced that the club had acquired 60% of Cissokho's rights for a modest fee of €300,000. Upon his arrival, Cissokho was given the number 28 shirt and immediately inserted into the starting lineup by manager Jesualdo Ferreira making his debut 17 January in a Taça da Liga match against Académica de Coimbra. In the league, Cissokho appeared in 15 matches with the club going undefeated in that span. The unbeaten streak led to the club winning its fourth consecutive league title and giving Cissokho his first major honour.
In the UEFA Champions League, Cissokho made his debut on 24 February 2009 in the opening leg of the team's first knockout round tie against Spanish club Atlético Madrid. The match finished 2–2 and Porto won the tie by the same scoreline by virtue of the away goals rule. In the quarterfinals, Porto faced English club Manchester United and Cissokho was tasked with the objective of containing the 2008 FIFA World Player of the Year Cristiano Ronaldo. Despite putting up a strong effort in the first leg, which ended 2–2 at Old Trafford, Porto were defeated 3–2 on aggregate after losing 1–0 at the Estádio do Dragão. On 31 May, Porto completed the league and cup double after defeating Paços de Ferreira 1–0 in the 2009 final of the Taça de Portugal. Cissokho played the entire match.
On 14 June 2009, Italian club Milan announced that the club had signed Cissokho, subject to medical, with a reported deal of €15 million. Cissokho underwent his medical on 16 June, but the very next day it was revealed that he had failed it due to a problem with his teeth that could indicate potential spinal problems, and that the move was in jeopardy of collapse. Later that day, Cissokho declared he had passed a second medical he undertook, and that he had, subsequently, signed a pre-contract. In the meantime, Milan tried to re-negotiate the bid on a loan basis due to Cissokho's health concerns; as the parties failed to reach an agreement, Milan general manager, Adriano Galliani, subsequently announced the deal was cancelled.
On 18 July, French club Olympique Lyonnais announced that the club had reached an agreement with Porto for the transfer of Cissokho, in a deal which equaled Milan's €15 million bid. However, Porto remain eligible to receive 20% of the added value/differential value if Lyon sold him for a higher price. Cissokho successfully passed his medical and agreed to a five-year contract. He was presented to the media, along with fellow new signing Michel Bastos, on 20 July and was assigned the number 20 shirt.
Cissokho was immediately inserted to the starting eleven by manager Claude Puel replacing the Italian international Fabio Grosso, who departed for Juventus. He made his debut for Lyon in the team's opening league match of the season; a 2–2 draw with Le Mans with Cissokho playing the entire match. On 26 September 2009, Cissokho assisted on the equalizing goal, scored by Yannis Tafer, in the 52nd minute of a league match against Toulouse. Lyon later won the match 2–1 with a goal from Bafétimbi Gomis. On 9 December, he scored his first professional goal in Lyon's 4–0 thrashing of Hungarian club Debrecen. Two weeks later, he provided his second league assist of the season on Lyon's only goal in the team's 2–1 loss to Montpellier.
On 23 August 2012, Valencia CF announced on their official website they had completed a deal to sign Cissokho for the next four seasons., for €5 million and €1 million variable and a portion of future transfer fee Valencia received. He made his official debut against FC Barcelona, at an eventual 1–0 away loss . On 15 September, Cissokho's 25th birthday, he scored his first goal, which also turned out to be the winning goal, for Valencia in a 2–1 win over Celta Vigo at Mestalla.
On 20 August 2013, Cissokho signed for English side Liverpool on a season-long loan deal. He made his Premier League debut four days later away to Aston Villa, replacing Iago Aspas in the 69th minute. He was ruled out for six weeks after an injury which caused him to be taken off after ten minutes in the League Cup game against Notts County. He made his first assist for Luis Suárez's second in a 4–1 victory over West Bromwich Albion. He soon fell out of favour after making six appearances for the senior team. Cissokho returned to first-team action, however, on 26 December against Manchester City in the absence of injured Jon Flanagan in a narrow 2–1 defeat at the City of Manchester Stadium. Cissokho made his second and final goal contribution for Liverpool at Stoke in January, when his shot deflected off Ryan Shawcross for an own goal after 5 minutes to open a 5–3 win.
On 8 August 2014, Cissokho signed a four-year deal with Premier League club Aston Villa. He impressed during his debut – the first game of the 2014–15 Premier League against Stoke City, which Villa won 1–0. On 23 August 2014, in the match against Newcastle United, an ankle injury occurred sidelining Cissokho for a week. On 20 September 2014, Cissokho registered an own goal while attempting to clear Arsenal's Kieran Gibbs' cross.. On 24 February 2015 he sustained a Groin/pelvis injury during training sidelining him for 2 months. He made a total of 27 appearances, and helped Villa reach the FA Cup Final.
Loan to Porto and premature return
On 5 August 2015, Cissokho returned to Portuguese club Porto on a season-long loan. He had played for Porto for a short spell back in 2009. On 18 December, after only two appearances in the Primeira Liga, he was recalled by new Villa manager Rémi Garde – who had managed him at Lyon – to cover after Jordan Amavi was ruled out for the season, although he was not eligible to play until the new year. He was eventually given squad number 43 and went straight into the starting eleven against fellow relegation candidates Sunderland in a 3-1 defeat on 2 January 2016.
Due to hovering in the second division with Gueugnon, Cissokho never earned call ups with any of France's international youth teams. However, he did earn the attention of the Fédération Sénégalaise de Football who govern the Senegal national team. The federation wanted the player to play for the nation of his ancestors and Cissokho initially accepted, but lost confidence in the federation when they lost his passport and informed him that they only preferred homegrown players. After excelling in Portugal, the Senegalese Federation contacted him again, but Cissokho refused contact stating he had not made up his mind. On 3 October 2009, Cissokho announced that he would be open to representing the France national team, but his main focus was currently with his new club.
On 5 November 2009, Cissokho was included in the team by coach Raymond Domenech for the team's World Cup qualification playoff round tie against the Republic of Ireland to serve as backup to Patrice Evra. Cissokho described the call up as a "childhood dream". He made the bench for the first match played at Croke Park in Dublin, but was an unused substitute. In the second leg, he did not make the bench as France earned a place in the 2010 FIFA World Cup. On 25 February 2010, Cissokho received his second call up to the team for the team's friendly against Spain on 3 March, but did not make an appearance. On 11 May, he was named to the 30-man preliminary list by Domenech to play in the 2010 FIFA World Cup, but failed to make the final 23.
On 5 August 2010, Cissokho was called up to the team by new manager Laurent Blanc for the team's friendly match against Norway on 11 August. Cissokho made his international debut in the match starting and playing the full match at the left back position.
- As of 20 March 2016
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- Includes other competitive competitions, including the Trophée des champions, UEFA Super Cup, Intercontinental Cup, FIFA Club World Cup
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