The Rajesh Wadhawan Group and Hrithik Roshan co-owned Indian Super League team FC Pune City announced today their marquee player, signing former Liverpool and Juventus star Mohamed Sissoko for the 2016 edition of the league, subject to medical clearance. The 31-year-old, Indian Super League’s youngest marquee player, was a part of the Liverpool side that won the Community Shield in 2006 and FA Cup in 2005-06. He also won UEFA Super Cup back-to-back in 2004 & 2005, first with Valencia and then with Liverpool. He won La Liga title with Los Che in 2003-04 season.
Speaking at the introduction of champion midfielder, Mr. Gaurav Modwel, CEO of FC Pune City said, “Sissoko is a marquee player in all the true senses. He has played with some of the top European clubs in the world making meritorious contributions to every team he has donned the jersey for – be it Valencia, Liverpool, Juventus, Paris St. Germain or Mali National Team. He is known for his intimidating presence on the field with a considerable physical prowess to match his style of play. Besides he also is the league’s youngest marquee player, I am sure the team and players are equally excited as I am to have him on board.”
Born in France, Sissoko opted to play for his ancestral country Mali making his international debut in 2004. He started his youth career in 1998 with French club Auxerre. In 2003, the defensive midfielder moved to Spain representing Valencia CF on free transfer. Sissoko was an integral part of Valencia when they won La Liga (2003-04) as well as UEFA Cup (2004) under the management of Rafael Benitez.
Expressing his excitement on joining FC Pune City, Sissoko said, “The moment FC Pune City expressed their interest and discussed their plans, I knew this was the challenge I would love to take up. Coach Habas and FC Pune City management showed full confidence in me and I will do everything in my abilities to fight for a place in starting XI for every game because FC Pune City team is so good and compact.”
In the summer of 2005, the midfielder joined Benitez at Liverpool in England. From 2005-2008 at Merseyside, Sissoko was an integral part of the team that won the FA Cup in 2006. His exceptional performance with the English club prompted European giants like Barcelona, CSKA Moscow and Juventus to show interest in him. But he chose to stay with Liverpool until 2008.
Sissoko then joined Italian giants Juventus in 2008. He teamed up with Claudio Ranieri, his coach at Valencia, after Benitez left for Liverpool. He represented the Turin side 71 times until injuries kept him out of action. In 2011, he joined the Ligue 1 side Paris St. Germain where he played for them for a couple of years and even captained the French giants. He then represented Fiorentina and Levante for short stints before moving to Shanghai Shenhua in 2015.
Head Coach Antonio Habas, who coached Sissoko at Valencia CF, was happy to join forces again. “Sissoko is a true professional having played for reputed clubs across Europe. He told us that he is ready to take the field whenever required. He is known to be a great ball winner, a role that will allow him to support our offence for winning back possession. I am excited at the prospect of working with him again, this time for bringing glory to FC Pune City.”