Sissoko-Juventus Is a Done Deal: the Malian Midfielder Signed Over from Liverpool for €11.0m

Sissoko-Juventus Is a Done Deal: the Malian Midfielder Signed Over from Liverpool for €11.0m

It’s now official: Juventus and Liverpool have finalized the negotiations for the arrival of Mohamed Lamine Sissoko to the Serie A. The Malian midfielder has been acquired for a cost of €11.0m (£8.2m), and signed a contract of 5 years with the Bianconeri (i.e. until 2013). The transfer fee had been made payable in 3 yearly installments, and may increase by a maximum of €2.0m depending on the achievements of the player during his 5-year contract.

I am happy to have joined such an important club” said Sissoko in an interview to Juventus Channel. “This experience will, I’m sure, mark an important step forward in my football career. I am very excited at the prospect of measuring up to champions such as Buffon and Del Piero, as well as being coached by Ranieri again, a great manager with whom I’ve already had the chance to work with at Valencia“.

Momo Is BossA tough tackling defensive midfielder, Sissoko is seen by some as a future midfield star of European football, in particular Liverpool manager Rafael Benítez, who showered praise upon him when he arrived at Merseyside, saying Sissoko possessed “incredible ability for his age” and similar qualities to Frenchman Patrick Vieira. Sissoko’s early career (much like Vieira’s) had been marked with disciplinary problems (as the Malian player tended to pick up yellow cards for late or reckless tackles), but his fierce competitiveness was immediately effective for Liverpool, and he soon became something of a fan’s favourite (as shown in the tribute by Reds fans in the form of a large Mali flag with the Scouse phrase “Momo Is Boss” adorning it).

A question for Liverpool fans: what’s your opinion of Momo Sissoko? Do you think the Reds have made a mistake by letting him go, or was it becoming increasingly difficult for him to find space in Rafael Benítez’s line-up (despite the rotation policy)? According to you, what can Juventus fans realistically expect of Sissoko for the upcoming years?

A small Momo Sissoko Biography

Mohamed Lamine Sissoko Gillan (born 22 January 1985 in Mont-Saint-Aignan, France, and often referred to simply as “Momo Sissoko”) is a French-born footballer who represents Mali at the international level. Sissoko is the nephew of Mali and Valencia CF former African Footballer of the Year Salif Keïta, and he is often compared to French midfielder Patrick Vieira due to their similar playing styles.


AJ AuxerreSissoko started his professional career playing as a striker in AJ Auxerre, beggining from the French Club’s youth team and eventually climbing all the way up to the senior roster in 2002. Before he could demonstrate his skills at the Stade de l’Abbé-Deschamps however, he was snatched at age 17 by the Spanish club Valencia in the summer of 2003.

The transfer of Sissoko to the Spanish Liga is marred by controversy, because it was later found out that Los Che had not consulted with AJ Auxerre before signing the Malian player, and that he was in fact still under contract with the French club. AJ Auxerre brought the case before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (TAS), and after the TAS ruled in their favor, the French club and Valencia found an agreement for an indemnity fee of €1.0m (covering transfer and youth team costs).


At the time, the manager of Los Che was current Liverpool coach Rafael Benítez, who eyed the Malian player as a talented youngster with obvious potential to turn into a top-notch defensive midfielder. Up until then, Sissoko had always played as a striker for Auxerre, but began adapting to his new role under his new manager.

2003-04 was a very succesful year for Valencia and moderately so for the Malian player. Los Che were crowned La Liga and UEFA Cup champions, while Sissoko totaled 9 matches and 1 goal in a friendly fixture for his new club. The following year, Benítez left to coach Liverpool and was replaced by Claudio Ranieri (current Juventus manager): this was the chance for Sissoko to firmly establish himself in the starting line-up, as the Italian manager quickly became quite fond of the newly-formed defensive midfielder. In his second season at the Mestalla, Sissoko played 21 matches in the Spanish League, and made himself known to the world by his performances in La Liga and the UEFA Champions League.


Momo Sissoko with Liverpool manager Rafael BenitezSissoko moved from Valencia to Liverpool in the summer of 2005 for a fee reported at €7.1m (£5.3m). He had been expected to sign for Liverpool’s rivals Everton but ultimately plumped for the opportunity to work again with former Valencia boss, Rafael Benítez. Sissoko rapidly established himself as a key figure in the Reds’ central midfield, alternating with Xabi Alonso and the irreplaceable captain Steven Gerrard.

There were fears for Sissoko’s eyesight in his right eye after his retina was severely damaged, when he was accidentally kicked in the head by Benfica’s Beto in the first leg of their Champions League knockout round tie in February 2006. Sissoko made a speedy recovery however, and returned in the 6th round of the FA Cup against Birmingham City wearing a pair of goggles, where Liverpool won the game 7-0.

The 2006–07 season got off to a flying start for Sissoko with victory for Liverpool in the FA Community Shield and Sissoko taking the Man-Of-the-Match award. Sissoko’s season had been put on hold due to an arm injury he suffered at Birmingham City in the Carling Cup in early November. On 29 January 2007 it was announced that Sissoko would be fully fit for Liverpool’s local derby match against Everton on 3 February . However,he made his comeback from injury by playing against Newcastle in a game which Liverpool lost 2-1.

Sissoko’s first real test after coming back from injury was in the Champions League against Barcelona, the holders. Sissoko was awarded the Man-Of-the-Match award by UEFA. However for the remainder of the season he would have to compete for the holding position in the centre of Liverpool’s midfield, due to arrival of Argentine Javier Mascherano from West Ham. Sissoko would be largely unsuccessful in this battle, losing his place to Mascherano in the 2007 UEFA Champions League Final. This led to people questioning whether the Malian would leave Liverpool, with notable clubs such as Juventus and Barcelona reportedly interested. However on June 28th, Sissoko signed a contract to extend his Liverpool career a further 4 years, keeping him at Merseyside until 2011. It was later revealed that Sissoko had indeed received an offer from Juventus, but he turned them down as Liverpool are a ‘bigger club’

On August 25th 2007, in a match against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light, Sissoko started in place of the injured Steven Gerrard in Liverpool’s central midfield. In the match, Sissoko finally scored his first ever competitive goal in his club career, a long-range first-time effort from 25 yards out, assisted by Andriy Voronin. The goal, scored on Sissoko’s 75th appearance for the club, also marked Liverpool’s 7000th goal in league football.


Juventus F.C.On January 29th 2008, Liverpool F.C. confirmed the sale of Sissoko to Juventus F.C., for a fee of €11.0m (£8.2m).

Special thanks to the English, French and Italian Wikipedia articles on Momo Sissoko for the biography info.

Posted in Juventus, Player Profiles, Transfer News & Rumours |

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  • 15 Responses to “Sissoko-Juventus Is a Done Deal: the Malian Midfielder Signed Over from Liverpool for €11.0m”

    1. FBISAM says:

      Sissoko will be a world beater in time, we at LIVERPOOL need players who can perform now. Riise, Kuyt and Voronin have to go. Cissé should never have been sold. Crouch, Voronin, Kuyt are not even in the same league as Cissé.

      Le Tallec should come back into the team, and Babel should always partner Torres. We can’t rotate more than 2 players per game, wake up Rafa! Rotation does not work, u have tried it for too long.

    2. ARSENALFC says:

      Most pointless buy by Liverpool, he had potential but wasn’t right for the club

    3. Lil_Red says:

      Really ARSENALFC??? And just what the f… makes you say that? Because just by the looks of statistics (and that little video the author posted), you would think the lad did more than occupy space on the bench these last two years…

      To me, Sissoko is a perfect example of an useful player that’s leaving Anfield, right there. Up until Mascherano arrived, Benitez had no one covering for that role. But if the Argentine gets injured then who’s there to replace him??? Bad move Gillett & Hicks.

    4. harasuke says:

      he’s gone. i mean he’s a good player but -my god- he does not know how 2 pass… masch is a better player. even lucas.

      bad move 4 juve because whatever crap is said about benitez he does not let world class players go.

      having said that, gud luck, momo.

    5. will says:

      I don’t know what the staff at Juve are doing.. that money could be better spent elsewhere…

    6. Heron says:

      Sissoko had pretty lost his place in the team. Benitez told him that if he wanted to leave he could, but only if the right offer came along. I guess it did.

    7. It’s definitely interesting to see how quickly someone forgets… A year ago Sissoko was the great midfield promise for Reds, now everyone seems to be happy Liverpool got rid of him. Odd.

      As a Juve fan, I think Sissoko’s exactly the kind of player that would perfectly fit in Claudio Ranieri’s current gameplan. The Bianconeri are heavily relying on wing attacks this season, and are using their central midfielders more like interdictors than creators (to the exception of Cristiano Zanetti, who can do both). This tactical choice by Ranieri is also the main reason why Tiago and Almirón couldn’t find any space in the team this year, since they are creative playmakers.

      So, the arrival of a strong defensive midfielder (that can alternate with C.Zanetti and Nocerino in the center) can only be beneficial for Juve I think. Remains to be seen if Sissoko can show off some of the good stuff, the kind he did during in his first season at Anfield.

    8. lfc4ev4 says:

      It’s funny cuz some have been praying for L’pool to get rid of Sissoko, before he turned into another Salif Diao. Diao doesn’t even deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as Sissoko. Sissoko is a beast, he could have easily gone on to be the next Vieira, if it wern’t for sum Benfica prick stabbing him in the eye with his studs.

      Since that fateful day, Sissoko has not been the same, with some saying he’s partially lost the sight in one eye. I think it’s best that he left, but he is several class levels above Diao, who was an unimaginable flop.

    9. derrick says:

      rafa failed to mould him into a better player..though I trust rafa, I think he needs to responsible for it too…

      but for 11m euro…what the heck…bye momo…

    10. Finnan3 says:

      Yeah, in overall he’s been a good player for us, and when you look at the whole situation (including this transfer) it has been some good piece of business. Momo was immense in his first season in midfield with Xabi, unfortunately he got injured and after that it’s sad to say he was never near the form from his first season. This season he had some good signs of improvement, but he had more bad games as he was getting less games than ever, and we have now Mascherano and Lucas, so I wish Momo all the very best for the future, and I never said anything bad about him. He’s a good player, still young and he will learn how to play the ball.

    11. gerrard08 says:

      do you think wenger could have done something with momo? has rafa really turned any talents into class in his 4 years?

    12. Mister says:

      Momo is a good player and has talent. He may not fulfill his potential here but could do it at other club where he gets more playing time. And at Serie A especially the pace of the game is slower and he might get more time to practice his passing.

      I wish him luck and thanks to bring us to another level when he was immense in 05/06 season.

    13. Carra-G says:

      Hes attitude over the last 3-4 months sucked,always complaining! and the less said about his performances the better…but I gues its like a funeral where people only have good things to say so…
      Goodluck at Juve mOmO!
      Saw him playing for Mali and he doesnt play like a DM for them,was always attacking,has potential to become a great player.Hope he lives up to his potential in Italia.

      Goodluck and YNWA Mohammad Sissoko

      Momo was Boss(2005-06)

    14. BD Condell says:

      Agree with Marco. This guy was a hero only a short time ago and looked a great prospect.

      Then typical of Rafa, he brings in quality in Mascherano in a position he already has quality (instead of in one of the many positions he doesn’t) and, despite his reputation for rotation, more or less shuts the door on Sissoko.They may well live to regret this decision.

      More evidence of Rafa’s bungling in the transfer market!

      Harasuke said: “whatever crap is said about benitez he does not let world class players go.”

      Not that hard really when you only have 2 to begin with!!

    15. Karl says:

      Yep, typical Rafa’s transfer policy…
      Buy 10 this season, sell 9 next season.