Djibril Cissé (born 12 August 1981 in Arles, France) is a French international football player of Ivorian descent who plays as a striker for both France and Olympique Marseille (on loan from Liverpool). He is noted particularly for his speed and acceleration, as well as his often eye-catching hairstyles.
Cissé signed for the French club AJ Auxerre at the age of 15, and made his international debut, aged 21, against Belgium in May 2002. He won the French Cup with Auxerre in May 2003, and the Confederations Cup with France a month later.
Cissé was also the top scorer in the French Ligue 1 in the 2001-02 and 2003-04 seasons. He scored 70 goals in 128 league games for Auxerre before signing for Liverpool in a deal worth over Ł14 million. Liverpool had pursued Cissé for a long time, and it was an open secret that the then Liverpool manager Gérard Houllier admired Cissé's qualities.
At Liverpool, Cissé scored 5 goals in 23 first-team games in all competitions for Liverpool in the 2004-05 season. He had only played 19 games for Liverpool when he broke his left leg playing against Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park on October 30, 2004. The injury was not a result of a tackle as was initially thought, but rather from an awkward fall as his foot appeared to be caught in the turf.
Cissé later revealed that had it not been for prompt attention from the trainers at the stadium (who had to pull his bones back into place with their hands), he would probably have lost the leg below the knee. He had pins inserted in the leg, and was expected to be out of action for the rest of the 2004-05 season. However, it was reported in late March 2005 that Cissé's recovery had advanced enough to enable him to return to action by the end of the season.
This indeed happened on April 13, when Cissé came on as a substitute in the 75th minute of the second leg of Liverpool's Champions League quarter-final tie with Juventus. He went on to score both Liverpool goals in their last Premiership match of the season, a 2-1 win over Aston Villa, and also converted one of the penalties in Liverpool's penalty shootout win over AC Milan in the Champions League final.
During the 2005-06 season, new Liverpool manager Rafael Benítez deployed Cissé on the right wing on numerous occasions. While his remarkable pace made him well suited to such a role, it was questioned whether he would be happy continuing to be used in this way rather than in his preferred position as striker.
Since the summer of 2005, the media had linked Cissé with a move away from Anfield. This speculation intensified over the course of the season due to the lack of starting appearances. On July 2, 2006, Cissé claimed on Sky Sports that Benitez was forcing him out of the club. He has now joined Olympique Marseille on a season-long loan for the 2006-07 season.
World Cup 2006
Cissé was included in the French squad for the 2006 World Cup in Germany. However, in France's final warm up match against China on 7 June he suffered a broken right leg. Ten minutes into the game he was knocked off balance by the Chinese captain Zheng Zhi and fell with his right leg twisting under him, buckling above the ankle. "He screamed in horrific pain," said Thierry Henry. "I was right next to him when it happened." Immediate surgery to repair his open fractured tibia followed, ruling him out of the tournament.
Earlier in the day, it had been reported that a transfer to Olympique de Marseille had been agreed. It had been thought that, even though a relatively quick recovery was expected, his transfer would be postponed until, at least, the January transfer window. However, these fears proved foundless, and the loan deal went ahead as expected in July 2006.
In June 2005, Djibril Cissé married Jude Littler, a Welsh hairdresser from Anglesey. The wedding took place at Bodelwyddan Castle, with notable guests including Cissé's French national team mates, Louis Saha, Thierry Henry, Sylvain Wiltord and Zinedine Zidane. Chelsea's winger Shaun Wright-Phillips was also in attendance. Cissé married in a tuxedo in the red of Liverpool. In October 2005, the couple announced they were expecting their first child. On 7 March 2006, Jude gave birth to a son named Cassius. Cissé also has a daughter named Ilona who was born in 2001.
In October 2005, he accepted a caution from the police for hitting a 15-year-old boy while filming an advert in Docklands, East London.
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