Pop quiz – which club does french striker Djibril Cisse play for? Well at the time of writing this blog, Cisse had just joined Russian side FC Kuban Krasnodar on a free transfer having negotiated the mutual termination of his QPR contract. The move is Cisse’s tenth of his career and his seventh country to date. So why for a player of his qualities has he moved around so much? The answer may come from a single reply given by outspoken Montpellier chairman, Louis Nicollin who at one stage was keen to sign Cisse for his club. After deciding against the move, Nicollin spoke to reporters who questioned why he had decided at the last minute not to finalize the transfer of Cisse. His reply was simple in that he did not want to sign a guy who plays DJ’s in bars. Cisse did retort on Twitter implying that he felt sorry for Montpellier fans who wouldn’t get to see him as they had an a$$hole for a chairman.
The truth appears to be that whilst Cisse is an outstanding player, his eccentric nature and ability to attract attention may be ruining his career. After making his break at Auxerre, scoring 70 goals in 124 appearances over six years, Cisse made the transition over to England with a lucrative move to Liverpool in a deal worth over £14 million. It was here under the then Liverpool manager and fellow Frenchman Gérard Houllier that Cisse would intend on really showcasing to the world what a talent he was. He settled quickly in the area, purchased a house in the village of Frodsham, Cheshire, (and in doing became Lord of the Manor of Frodsham) but more importantly met his future wife, Jude Littler who he married shortly after arriving. The now married man was focused and determined and in the first 19 games of his Liverpool career, he began to highlight the promise and ability that Houiller had long admired from afar. But in a match against Blackburn, disaster struck after a clumsy challenge by Jay McEveley resulted in Cisse breaking his leg. Initially ruled out for nine months, a determined Cisse bounced back quicker than expected and made a return to the first team just in time to be part of Rafa Benetiz’s Champions League winning team in Istanbul in 2005.
In the summer of 2006, Benetiz announced that Cisse was allowed to leave and speculation linked him with a move to Marseille. Speculation turned into reality as the two clubs agreed a deal, on the eve of France’s final world cup warm up match with Chile but the transfer officially wouldn’t go through until the following summer after Cisse broke his leg again in the Chile match. The move would set in motion a chain of events that would see Cisse move seven times over the next six years, firstly to Sunderland (on loan), then to Panathinaikos in Greece, Lazio in Italy, QPR in England, Al-Gharafa in Qatar (on loan) and now FC Kuban in Russia, signing a one year deal with a option for a second all being well.
But for a talent like Cisse, who is a proven goal scorer with every club he has been at, the question remains around why this once hot commodity has not lost his appeal? Given Nicollin’s remarks, which are in line with Cisse’s other passion for Djing; we start to wonder if it is indeed Cisse’s overall attitude that is the reason. He has talent in abundance that is for sure, but if he is a clubs worst nightmare as a player, the goals to game ratio starts to lose a bit of its shine. His last boss in England, QPR’s Harry Redknapp is no sucker for over bearing egotistical players so would be unlikely to stand by and watch Cisse cause problems. In a time when QPR desperately needed goals to survive, Redknapp decided to ship Cisse off to Qatar for the remainder of the season, giving us the clearest indication of Cisse’s nature and Redknapps low tolerance for it. If it is indeed the way that Cisse carries himself or his actions away from the pitch that is putting potential suitors off, then it is up to the player himself to realize this and change. The world deserves to see Cisse play on the biggest stages that football can provide but it’s unlikely to happen unless Cisse changes his ways.