Louis Saha

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Louis Saha
Louis Saha Sportsfile (Web Summit).jpg
Saha in 2015
Personal information
Full name Louis Laurent Saha[1]
Date of birth (1978-08-08) 8 August 1978 (age 42)[2]
Place of birth Paris, France
Height 1.85 m (6 ft 1 in)[3]
Position(s) Striker
Youth career
1993–1995 Clairefontaine[4]
1995–1997 Metz
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1997–2000 Metz 47 (5)
1999Newcastle United (loan) 11 (1)
2000–2004 Fulham 117 (53)
2004–2008 Manchester United 86 (28)
2008–2012 Everton 97 (27)
2012 Tottenham Hotspur 10 (3)
2012–2013 Sunderland 11 (0)
2013 Lazio 6 (0)
Total 385 (117)
National team
2004–2012 France 20 (4)
Honours
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Louis Laurent Saha (born 8 August 1978) is a French former professional footballer who played as a striker. Saha was capped 20 times for the France national team and scored four goals. A former scholar at the Clairefontaine football academy, he started his career at Metz before playing on loan at Newcastle United. Before the start of the 2000–01 season, Saha moved to Fulham where he established himself as first-choice striker, helping them to gain promotion to the Premier League in his first season with them.

His performances gained attraction from Manchester United, who eventually secured his signing for around £12.4 million midway through the 2003–04 season. Injuries plagued his Old Trafford career, however he did enjoy success with twice winning the Premier League, the 2007–08 UEFA Champions League and also scored six times en route to victory in the League Cup, including one goal in the final. Despite Saha's injury woes, United star Wayne Rooney stated on Sky Sports that Saha was one of his favourite strike partners.[5]

After four-and-a-half years at United, Everton took him to Goodison Park, where he opened the scoring in the 2009 FA Cup Final after 25 seconds, setting the record for the fastest goal scored in FA Cup Final history. He moved to Tottenham Hotspur on a free transfer in the 2012 January transfer window. Saha made his France debut in 2004 in a 2–0 victory over Belgium. He represented France at UEFA Euro 2004 and the 2006 FIFA World Cup, at which they reached the final.

Saha became first marquee player for the Indian Super League in 2014.[6]

Early life[edit]

Saha's parents were born on the island of Guadeloupe (a department of France), where his grandparents remain to this day.[7][8][9] He has a younger sister and younger brother.[7] Saha also revealed him and his siblings were brought up from a strict Caribbean culture.[7]

His father worked as a mechanic for planes and his mother worked as a nurse.[10][11] Growing up in Paris, Saha said his family had little money, leading him to "never take anything for granted",[11] In return, he bought his parents a house in the West Indies, and covered his parents’ debt.[11][10] Saha revealed that his father tried to make him balance his football with the rest of his education, but nevertheless, push him to make sure he "got enough education away from football" and supported him "all the way in helping him mature as a footballer and as a man".[7]

Club career[edit]

Metz[edit]

Born in Paris, France, Saha began his football career at Clairefontaine before he joined Metz at the age of 15 and then signed his first professional contract with the club at 17.[11][12] Saha progressed to the senior team in 1997.[13][4] Saha made his Metz debut on 8 August 1997, coming on as a late substitute against Bordeaux and scored the club's fourth goal of the game, in a 4–1 win.[14] This turns out to be his only goal of the season, as FC Metz finished second place in the league behind RC Lens through goal differences.[15] Overall, he made 25 appearances in all competitions. The 1998–99 season saw Saha made his first team opportunities, as he only made six appearances in all competitions.[16]

Saha went on loan to Newcastle United in January 1999, scoring once against Coventry City[17] and playing in a total of 11 league games, also scoring once in Newcastle's run to the 1999 FA Cup Final with the only goal in the fifth round clash against Blackburn Rovers.[18] Saha was however left out of the cup final squad entirely by manager Ruud Gullit.[19] He later reflected his time at Newcastle United, saying it made him acknowledge how hard he has to work as a footballer and gaining confidence.[20]

At the completion of the 1998–99 season, Saha returned to Metz, where he made an impact, scoring seven goals in the UEFA Intertoto Cup, scoring against MŠK Žilina, Lokeren, Polonia Warsaw and .[21] Saha's first goal for the club came on 7 August 1999, winning 3–0 against AJ Auxerre.[22] Saha later three more goals later in the 1999–2000, as he made 33 appearances and scoring 11 times in all competitions.[23] Despite being in a goal scoring form, Saha revealed that the club wanted him to "take on a lot more defensive duties", something that he was considered quitting football.[12] By the time Saha left the club at the end of the 1999–2000 season, he netted five goals in 47 matches in a two-year spell.

Fulham[edit]

Saha, just after signing for Fulham, in a pre-season friendly against Tiverton Town

Saha returned to England, where he was transferred to Fulham for £2.1 million in 2000.[24] Upon joining the club, Manager Jean Tigana said: "Louis is a very good signing. I have known him since he was 17 and he has great ability. I am sure he will follow the success of his contemporaries Thierry Henry and Nicolas Anelka. I believe he will be a very good player in the First Division and has the right qualities to be a success in the Premiership."[25]

Saha quickly made an impact on his Fulham debut, scoring his first goal of the season, in a 2–0 win against Crewe Alexandra in the opening game of the season.[26] This was followed up by scoring in a 3–1 win against Birmingham City.[27] Since making his debut, Saha quickly established himself in the first team, becoming the club's first-choice striker and along with John Collins and Lee Clark, their performance described "world class" by the Evening Standard.[28][29] He then scored eight goals in four matches between 5 September 2000 and 16 September 2000, scoring against Northampton Town (twice), Barnsley (hat–trick), Burnley (twice) and Nottingham Forest.[30] His goalscoring form continued with three goals in two matches against Grimsby Town on 25 November and Derby County on 29 November 2000.[31] Saha scored two goals in two matches between 13 January 2001 and 20 January 2001 against Norwich City and Watford.[32] He then scored twice for the side, in a 4–1 win against Tranmere Rovers on 30 March 2001.[33] Saha scored three goals in two matches between 21 April 2001 and 24 April 2001 against Portsmouth and Wolverhampton Wanderers.[34] In the promotion campaign of 2000–01 Saha scored 27 league goals to fire Fulham into the Premier League, making him the league top–scorer.[35] At the end of the 2000–01 season, he made 48 appearances and scoring 32 times in all competitions. For his performance, Saha was named PFA Team of the Year.[36]

At the start of the 2001–02 season, Saha scored three goals in the first two league matches of the season, coming against Manchester United and Sunderland.[37] During his first month in the top flight he was named Premier League Player of the Month.[38] Saha continued to regain his first team place as the club's first choice striker, forming a partnership with Barry Hayles throughout the 2001–02 season.[39] Although Saha did score in the League Cup match against Derby County on 10 October 2001, he went on a three months without scoring in the league before scoring against Newcastle United, winning 3–1 on 17 November 2001.[40] However, Saha's goal scoring form continued to dip as the 2001–02 season.[12][41][42] Despite this, he went on to score four more goals later in the 2001–02 season, including a brace against Chelsea.[43] At the end of the season, Saha went on to make 44 appearances and scoring nine times in all competitions.

At the start of the 2002–03 season, Saha appeared in every matches in the UEFA Intertoto Cup all up to the final and only scored once, coming against Egaleo on 20 July 2002.[44] He played in both legs of the Intertoto Cup finals against Bologna, as they won 5–3 to win the tournament and qualify for the UEFA Cup.[45][46] Saha scored his first league goal of the season, scoring from a penalty, in a 4–1 win against Bolton Wanderers in the opening game of the season.[47] However, he suffered a hamstring injury that kept him out for the rest of 2002.[48] It wasn’t until on 5 January 2003 when Saha scored on his return, in a 3–1 win against Birmingham City in the third round of the FA Cup.[49] However, his return was short–lived when he suffered another injury that saw him missed two matches.[50] It wasn’t until on 1 February 2003 when Saha returned to the first team, coming on as a 69th minute substitute, in a 2–1 loss against Arsenal.[51] He then scored his fourth goal of the season, in a 3–0 win against West Bromwich Albion.[52] Following his return, Saha managed to regain his first team place for the rest of the 2002–03 season, playing in the striker position.[53] He later scored three more goals later in the 2002–03 season, including scoring two goals in two matches between 1 March 2003 and 15 March 2003 against Sunderland and Southampton.[54] As a result, he was less prolific in 2002–03 season, scoring seven goals in 28 appearances in all competitions.

Ahead of the 2003–04 season, it was announced by the club that Saha would be staying put.[55] He started the season well, scoring in the opening game of the season, winning 3–2 win against Middlesbrough.[56] Saha then scored three goals in three matches between 14 September 2003 and 28 September 2003, scoring against Birmingham City, Manchester City and Blackburn Rovers.[57] Throughout the first half of the season, he continued to be in the first team regular for Fulham, playing in the striker position.[58] His goal scoring form continued by the end of the year, including scoring three braces.[59] As a result, Saha was named as the Player of the Month for December.[60] In his final season at Fulham, he contributed 15 goals in only 22 appearances before leaving in the January transfer window.

It was announced on 23 December 2003 by the club that they rejected a bid from Manchester United to sign Saha, saying he was not for sale.[61] It came after when his performance at Fulham's victory over Manchester United at Old Trafford in October 2003[62] was thought to be influential in persuading Alex Ferguson to sign him in 2004.[63] Around this time, Saha revealed that he had a fallen out with Manager Chris Coleman as a result of forcing his way to leave Fulham.[64] During a spell of nearly four years at the club, Saha scored 63 goals in total.

Manchester United[edit]

Saha was transferred to Manchester United for a fee of £12.4 million in 2004 having scored 15 goals so far that season and impressing Sir Alex Ferguson in Fulham's 3–1 win at Old Trafford. Fulham were reluctant to sell Saha[65] but he pushed for a deal and it eventually went through on 23 January 2004.[66] A month later, however, FC Metz took their case to FIFA (and later Court of Arbitration for Sport) after they are entitled to a share from Fulham as a result of Saha's transfer move.[67] Two years later, the Court of Arbitration for Sport was in favour of FC Metz and Fulham were ordered to pay.[68]

Saha impressed early, with seven goals in his 10 starting appearances of the 2003–04 season and scoring on his debut against Southampton.[69] After the match, Manager Ferguson praised his performance.[70] In the next match, versus Everton, Saha and Ruud van Nistelrooy each scored two goals in a 4–3 win.[71] On 28 February 2004, he faced his former team for the first time, scoring the only goal for United in a 1–1 draw.[72] Throughout the match, Saha received boos and jeers from Fulham supporters.[73] He then played in both legs of the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 against Porto, as Manchester United lost 3–2 on aggregate.[74] After missing two matches due to an Achilles problem, Saha returned to the first team and scored in the next two matches against Arsenal and Birmingham City.[75] Unfortunately, he was unable to play in the 2004 FA Cup Final win over Millwall, being cup-tied due to an earlier appearance with Fulham.[76] Despite this, Saha went on to make 12 appearances and scoring seven times in all competitions at the end of the 2003–04 season.

The 2004–05 season was a stop-start season marred by constant injury for Saha.[77] It wasn’t until on 28 August 2004 when he made his first appearance of the season, coming on as a second half substitute, in a 1–1 draw against Blackburn Rovers.[78] However, Saha picked up a knee injury playing for France against the Faroe Islands which cost him a month.[79] It wasn’t until on 16 October 2004 when he returned to the first team, starting the whole game, in a 0–0 draw against Birmingham City.[80] Saha then scored his first goal of the season, in a 2–0 win against Crystal Palace in the fourth round of the League Cup on 10 November 2004.[81] Shortly after, he picked up the injury again, also playing for the national side and costing nearly two months out.[82] It wasn’t until on 12 January 2005 when Saha returned to the starting the whole game, in a 0–0 draw against Chelsea in the first leg of the League Cup semi–finals.[83] Ten days later on 22 January 2005. He scored his second goal of the season, as well as, setting up the club's first goal of the game, in a 3–1 win against Aston Villa.[84] However in February, the problem recurred, again leaving Saha out for a further two months.[85] At the end of the 2004–05 season, Saha never really got going making only 11 starting appearances, 11 from the bench and scoring two goals.

Over the summer Saha suffered another hamstring strain which ruled him out for the first three months of the 2005–06 season.[86] It wasn’t until on 30 November 2005 when he scored on his first appearance of the season, as well as, setting up the club's third goal of the game, in a 3–1 win against West Bromwich Albion.[87] Following his return, Saha eased back into side as a sub, making appearances in League Cup matches.[88] To the surprise of many, the French striker recaptured his initial good form and started banging in the goals.[89] Six goals in the League Cup run saw him usurp Van Nistelrooy as the first-choice strike partner for Wayne Rooney.[90] Saha was named a starter, over Van Nistelrooy, in the final against Wigan Athletic, and scored a goal.[91] Despite suffering from an injury along the way, he later scored four more goals later in the 2005–06 season, including a brace against West Bromwich Albion on 18 March 2006.[92] At the end of the 2005–06 season, Saha went on to make 30 appearances and scoring 15 times in all competitions.

Saha, scorer of United's second goal, pictured during the 3–1 Manchester derby win on 9 December 2006.

Saha was chosen by Ferguson to partner alongside Rooney for the next season, after Van Nistelrooy's exit for Real Madrid during the summer transfer window.[93] He began the 2006–07 season by scoring only seven minutes into the first game against Fulham.[94] This was followed up by scoring his second goal of the season, in a 3–0 win against Charlton Athletic, as well as, setting up the club's second goal of the game.[95] Saha then scored twice for the side, as well as, setting up the club's third goal of the game, in a 3–2 win against Celtic in the UEFA Champions League.[96] He scored the winning goal away to Benfica in the UEFA Champions League and later scored in the return match.[97] Saha's goal scoring form continued for the rest of 2006.[98] As a result, he signed an extension to his contract[99] lasting to 2010, though soon after began suffering from more injury problems.[100] Groin and hamstring injuries restricted appearances and meant he only scored one goal in the second half of the season.[101] He returned as substitute at Roma but then soon picked up a knee injury and was therefore absent for United's 1–0 extra-time loss to Chelsea in the FA Cup final.[102] Saha ended the season with 13 goals in all competitions, largely thanks to his pre-Christmas form.

In the 2007–08 season, Saha returned from injury and came as a substitute against Sunderland, scoring the winning goal.[103] On 23 September 2007, Saha won and converted a penalty against Chelsea in Chelsea's first game with Avram Grant in charge. United won the game 2–0.[104] This earned Saha a recall to the French national team after a year out. Against Arsenal, Saha came on to replace the under-performing Carlos Tevez in a 2–2 draw. He was key in setting up a goal as Cristiano Ronaldo gave United a 2–1 lead.[105] Saha continued to make appearances off the bench, but when Wayne Rooney was ruled out for a few weeks he partnered Tevez up front.[106] He then started in a match against Sunderland on Boxing Day, and scored twice, including a penalty, winning 2–0 to lift Manchester United to 1st position in the Premier League.[107] After being sidelined with a knee injury that kept him out for a month, Saha made his return in an FA Cup clash versus Arsenal on 16 February 2008, winning 4–0.[108] The following weekend, he came on as a substitute for Ronaldo, scoring the final goal in a 5–1 rout of Newcastle United.[109] After returning to nearly full fitness, Saha's injury haunts returned and forced him off with a hamstring complaint during United's win over Bolton Wanderers at Old Trafford.[110] Saha was ruled out for several weeks, missing key games.[111] In the final game of the Premier League season against Wigan Athletic, Saha was named as a substitute, but played no part in the game.[112] In May 2008, Saha admitted that he believed his United career was in doubt. Despite his desire to stay and love for the club, he was unsure of what the future held for him at Old Trafford.[113]

Despite struggling with injuries in parts of the 2004–05 and latter parts of the 2006–07 and 2007–08 seasons, Saha still contributed 42 goals in all competitions for Manchester United in 120 appearances for the club.

Everton[edit]

Saha (right) alongside Sylvain Distin with Everton in 2009

Saha joined Everton in 2008 for an undisclosed fee,[114] signing a two-year 'pay-as-you-play' deal.[115] Not match-fit at his time of signing, Saha offered to train without being paid while injured.[115]

Saha made his Everton debut on 22 September coming on as a substitute in a league game away to Hull City,[116] before scoring his first goal, against his former club Fulham, at Goodison Park on 1 November.[117] This was followed up by scoring a brace, as well as, setting up the club's first goal of the game, in a 3–1 win against West Ham United.[118] However during a 1–0 win against Tottenham Hotspur on 30 November 2008, he suffered a knee injury and was substituted in the 60th minutes.[119] Following this, it was announced that Saha would be out for two months.[120] It wasn’t until on 22 February 2009 when Saha returned to the first team, coming on as a 74th minute substitute, in a 0–0 draw against Newcastle United.[121] This was followed up by scoring his fourth league goal of the season, in a 2–0 win against West Bromwich Albion.[122] A week later on 8 March 2009, he came off the bench at half-time in that season's FA Cup quarter-final against Middlesbrough, scoring the winner and helping Everton reach the semi-finals for the first time since 1995.[123] Two months later on 16 May 2009 against West Ham United, Saha scored twice for the second time this season, as the club won 3–1.[124] Two weeks later in the FA Cup final, Saha scored the fastest goal in the final's history after 25 seconds, though opponents Chelsea came from behind to win 2–1.[125] This broke Bob Chatt's record, set 114 years earlier in the 1895 Final.[126] It was also the fastest goal in any match at the new Wembley Stadium, beating the previous record by Gianpaolo Pazzini in March 2007 in an under-21 international for Italy.[127] Throughout the 2008–09 season, he established himself in the starting 11, forming a striking partnership with Yakubu.[128] At the end of the 2008–09 season, Saha went on to make 29 appearances and scoring eight times in all competitions.

Saha warming up prior to Everton's match against Fulham in 2009

Saha scored his first goal of the 2009–10 season, after coming on as a substitute, on the opening day of the season against Arsenal in a 6–1 defeat at Goodison.[129] His goalscoring form continued for the next two months, adding a tally to seven goals, scoring against Sigma Olomouc (twice), Wigan Athletic, Blackburn Rovers (twice) and Portsmouth.[130] He went on to a run of seven goals in seven games in all competitions by the end of the year. [131] The next two months saw Saha earned two Player of the Month by the club.[132] Saha signed a two-year contract extension with Everton on 5 February 2010, keeping him at the club until the end of the 2011–12 season.[133] Five days later on 10 February 2010, he scored a brace for the side, in a 2–1 win against Chelsea.[134] Throughout the 2009–10 season, he established himself in the starting 11, playing in the striker position, but found his goalscoring form dipped as the season progressed.[135] Despite suffering from injuries during the season along the way, Saha made 40 appearances and scored 15 times in all competitions (13 in the league).[136]

At the start of the 2010–11 season, Saha continued to regain his first team place for the first four matches, including scoring his first goal in a 5–1 win against Huddersfield Town in the second round of the League Cup.[137] However, he suffered an injury while on international duty that kept him out for a month. [9][138] It wasn’t until on 23 October 2010 when Saha returned to the first team from injury, coming on as a 61st minute substitute, in a 1–1 draw against Tottenham Hotspur.[139] Since returning from injury, he was involved in the first team for the next three months, though at the same time, struggled to regain his goal scoring form.[140] This last until Saha suffered a thigh injury that saw him missed one match.[141] Saha scored his eighth goal in five starts against Chelsea on 29 January 2011, and continued his form in the next home game, against Blackpool on 5 February, when he netted four goals in a 5–3 victory. It was his first hat-trick in the Premier League.[142] Saha scored again for Everton against Fulham on 19 March 2011 with a low right footed drive from a free kick, he was later stretchered off with an ankle injury and remained sidelined for the remainder of the season.[143] At the end of the 2010–11 season, Saha made 26 appearances and scoring nine times in all competitions.

Saha made his return for the 2011–12 season on 30 July 2011 in a pre-season fixture against the recently relegated Birmingham City at St Andrews.[8] He was substituted into the match in the second half and scored 3 minutes into his return from injury with a low right footed drive from outside the box.[144] After missing four matches, Saha returned to the first team, coming on as a 66th minute substitute, in a 2–0 loss against Manchester City on 24 September 2011.[145] This was followed up by making his first start of the season for Everton in a home fixture against Liverpool. Everton lost the game 2–0.[146] He then scored his first goal of the season in a 3–1 victory over Fulham at Craven Cottage after coming on as a substitute.[147] Saha continued his scoring in the following game on 26 October against Chelsea in a League Cup tie.[148] He failed to score again for Everton, a drought that included 942 consecutive minutes of league football.[149] Saha left Everton having scored 35 goals in 115 appearances.[150]

Tottenham Hotspur[edit]

On 31 January 2012, Saha completed a free transfer move to Tottenham Hotspur, signing a six-month contract. He was given the number 15 jersey, last worn by Peter Crouch.[151]

Less than a week later he made his debut against Liverpool coming on as a substitute for Emmanuel Adebayor in a 0–0 draw.[152] He made his full debut in the very next league fixture against Newcastle United, scoring twice in a 5–0 win.[153] On 26 February 2012, he made it three goals in three games for his new club when he scored the opening goal in Tottenham's North London derby defeat against Arsenal, 5-2.[154]

He scored his fourth goal, in all competitions, for the club against Bolton Wanderers to make it 3–1 to Tottenham with the last kick of the game to send his side through to the FA Cup semi-finals against London rivals Chelsea.[155] Following his successful short spell with Tottenham, Saha reported that he was desperate to seal a long term deal at White Hart Lane, citing Harry Redknapp as a big factor in his upturn in form.[156] On 13 July 2012, it was confirmed that Saha was released after his contract expired at the end of the season.[157]

Sunderland[edit]

Saha coming on for his Sunderland debut as a substitute

On 16 August 2012, Sunderland confirmed the signing of Saha on a one-year deal.[158] He made his debut two days later, coming on as a substitute in a 0–0 draw with Arsenal.[159] His contract was mutually terminated on transfer deadline day January 2013.[160] During Saha's time at Sunderland, he made only 14 appearances and failed to score a single goal.[161]

Lazio[edit]

On 6 February 2013, Saha signed a six-month contract with Italian club Lazio.[162] The following day, he was presented by the club.[163]

Saha made his debut for Lazio, coming on as a substitute on 9 February 2013 in a match against Napoli.[164] However, he found his playing time limited, mostly coming on as a substitute bench, as he went on to make six appearances for the club.[165] Despite being keen to stay at the club beyond the 2012–13 season, Saha was released at the end of the short-term deal.[166]

Post-playing career[edit]

Saha playing alongside Jesper Blomqvist during Manchester United's charity match against Barcelona on 2 September 2017

On 8 August 2013, date of his birthday, Saha announced his retirement from professional football via Twitter.[167] Saha joined other retired players at a Testimonial match for his former Spurs teammate Ledley King on 12 May 2014. Coming on as a second-half substitute he scored a hat-trick against a line-up of current Tottenham players.[168] Three years later on 2 September 2017, he once again joined other retired players for a charity match against Barcelona that Manchester United won 3–0.[169]

Saha's speaking at the Web Summit in 2016

Following his retirement from professional football, Saha created a private network for pro athletes and entertainers called AxisStars.[11][170][171]

In December 2015, Saha said he would be suing a UK bank after it was revealed that a botched investment scheme resulted in him losing "around six figures."[11] He also published his first book titled "Thinking Inside the Box?".[172][173][174]

International career[edit]

Saha represented France at various youth levels and scored the winning goal in the 1997 European Under-19 Championships against Portugal.[175]

Saha said he wanted to play for France and put his name in the short–list to be called up to the national squad for the 2002 FIFA World Cup but due to his goal scoring form dip during the 2001–02 season, Saha acknowledged that he would be unlikely to be in the squad for the tournament, which turned out to be true.[12] It was not until 2004 that Saha finally earned his first full cap, marking his debut with a goal in a 2–0 victory over Belgium on 18 February.[176] That summer he was also selected for the UEFA Euro 2004 squad.[177] Saha then scored his second goal for France, scoring the national team's third goal of the game, in a 4–0 win against Andorra on 28 May 2004.[178] Having appeared in the first two matches as an unused substitute bench in the Group Stage, he made his first appearance of the tournament against Switerzland, coming on as a 75th-minute substitute, and set up a goal for Thierry Henry to score the national team's second goal of the game, winning 3–1.[179] However, Saha played 18 minutes, having come on as a 72nd minute substitute, as France lost 1–0 against Greece in the quarter–finals, eliminating the national side from the UEFA Euro.[180]

Two years later, Saha was called up to the national team squad for the FIFA World Cup, earning his first call-up in almost a year.[181] He made his first appearance for the national side in almost a year, starting a match against Denmark on 31 May 2006 and set up France's first goal of the game, in a 2–0 win.[182] Saha made his first appearance of the World Cup, coming on as a 69th minute substitute, in a 0–0 draw against Switerzland.[183] Saha contributed to France reaching the 2006 FIFA World Cup Final, but he was suspended for the final against Italy after receiving a yellow card during the semi-final victory over Portugal.[184]

After the end of the World Cup tournament, Saha was called up to the France squad for the match against Bosnia and Herzegovina, which he started the whole game, in a 2–1 win.[185] Saha then followed up in his next appearance for the national side by scoring in a 3–0 win against Georgia.[186] A month later on 11 October 2006, he scored his fourth goal for France, in a 5–0 win against Faroe Islands.[187]

Saha was named in the squad picked for the Euro 2012 qualifiers (September 2011), which also included goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, Chelsea's Florent Malouda and nine other players who took part in France's disappointing 2010 World Cup campaign.[9][188] Prior to this, he had not played for his national side since November 2006 (although he was called up by Raymond Domenech in February 2010, he withdrew from the squad due to injury).[189] Saha made his first appearance for France for the first time in four years, coming on as a 79th minute substitute, in a 1–0 loss against Belarus on 3 September 2010.[190] Two years later on 29 February 2012, he made his return to the national team in a 2–1 win against Germany, in what turns out to be his last appearance for France.[191]

Personal life[edit]

In addition to speaking French, Saha speaks fluent English. He learned the language after moving to Fulham in 2000, where he experienced some initial struggles before improving.[28][192]

Saha was married to his long term partner Aurélie and together, they have three children: Stanley, Enzo and Lou.[7][12][42][173][193][194] However, they have since been divorced.[172] Having previously resided in Manchester, England, he has since resided in the south of France.[11][171][173]

In February 2011, Saha escaped unhurt after his car collided with a fence on Altrincham Road, at the entrance to the tunnels that run under the runways of Manchester Airport.[195]

Career statistics[edit]

Club[edit]

Source:[196][197]
Club Season League National Cup League Cup Europe Other[198] Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Metz 1997–98 21 1 2 0 0 0 3 0 26 1
1998–99 3 0 0 0 0 0 3 0 6 0
1999–2000 23 4 3 0 1 0 8 8 35 12
Total 47 5 5 0 1 0 14 8 67 13
Newcastle United (loan) 1998–99 11 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 12 2
Total 11 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 12 2
Fulham 2000–01 43 27 1 0 4 5 0 0 48 32
2001–02 36 8 6 0 2 1 0 0 44 9
2002–03 17 5 3 1 0 0 8 1 28 7
2003–04 21 13 1 2 0 0 0 0 22 15
Total 117 53 11 3 6 6 8 1 142 63
Manchester United 2003–04 12 7 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 14 7
2004–05 14 1 2 0 4 1 2 0 22 2
2005–06 19 7 4 2 5 6 2 0 30 15
2006–07 24 8 2 1 0 0 8 4 34 13
2007–08 17 5 2 0 0 0 5 0 0 0 24 5
Total 86 28 10 3 9 7 19 4 0 0 124 42
Everton 2008–09 24 6 3 2 1 0 1 0 29 8
2009–10 33 13 1 0 1 0 5 2 40 15
2010–11 22 7 3 2 1 1 0 0 26 10
2011–12 18 1 0 0 2 1 0 0 20 2
Total 97 27 7 4 5 2 6 2 115 35
Tottenham Hotspur 2011–12 10 3 2 1 0 0 0 0 12 4
Sunderland 2012–13 11 0 0 0 3 0 14 0
Lazio 2012–13 6 0 0 0 0 0 6 0
Career total 385 117 36 12 24 15 47 15 0 0 492 159

International[edit]

Source:[199]
France senior team
Year Apps Goals
2004 8 2
2005 0 0
2006 10 2
2007 0 0
2008 0 0
2009 0 0
2010 1 0
2011 0 0
2012 1 0
Total 20 4

International goals[edit]

# Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1 18 February 2004 King Baudouin Stadium, Brussels, Belgium  Belgium 2–0 2–0 Friendly match
2 28 May 2004 Stade de la Mosson, Montpellier, France  Andorra 3–0 4–0 Friendly match
3 2 September 2006 Boris Paichadze Stadium, Tbilisi, Georgia  Georgia 1–0 3–0 UEFA Euro 2008 qualifying
4 11 October 2006 Stade Auguste Bonal, Montbéliard, France  Faroe Islands 1–0 5–0 UEFA Euro 2008 qualifying

Honours[edit]

Fulham

Manchester United

France U18

Individual

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