FOCUS – Back in France after nine “wonderful seasons” in England, the French international represents the experience asset of a young Nantes team in search of an exploit against PSG.
Nearly 200 Ligue 1 and 300 Premier League matches, more than 50 European matches, 71 selections for the France team… Moussa Sissoko, a man of experience. And a great asset for the young Canaries, holders of the Coupe de France and who are about to start a “complicated season“, says Antoine Kombouaré, that of confirmation. “He will be there to talk to the players, calm expectations and pressure“, continued the Kanak coach, guessing that the former player of Newcastle (2013-16), Tottenham (2016-21) and Watford (2021-22) “will bring (them) on the field but also a lot in the locker room“. That’s good, it’s exactly the idea of the native of Blanc-Mesnil (93), aspiring to “succeed (his) return to France“As he explains on the League website (LFP). “I hope to be able to bring my experience to the team“, he swears, he who leaves however with a little something less than most of his teammates: a title. His track record is indeed completely blank.
In fact, the one that Kombouaré already affectionately qualifies as “fatherfor his young band, via The Team , is even subscribed to lost finals and second places. Euro 2016 final, 2017 England vice-champion, 2019 C1 final, 2021 League Cup final… A real curse. “Coming back to France and starting with a trophy, my first, that would be nice“, He smiles before facing PSG for the Champions Trophy, this Sunday (8 p.m.), in Tel Aviv. “There is disappointment, but that’s part of the game. I digested all these lost finals“, he assures, promising not to feel “lack“. “My career is not over, if I can pick up some trophies, it will be with pleasure“, he slips.
The “great of Europe” and favorite PSG, but…
Obviously, facing a PSG which has “completely changed in size“Since his departure for England, it will not be easy. “We are not going to lie to each other, they are favorites“, he acknowledges, declaring that it will not take “not show too much respect to the opponent“. “You shouldn’t focus on the names opposite, you have to go there!“, he adds, hammering that a “final, it is not played, it is won“. This is what Lille did, who defeated the Parisian ogre (1-0), who will want to offer a first trophy to Christophe Galtier despite the absence of Kylian Mbappé, suspended. Lionel Messi, Neymar Jr or Marquinhos are there. Two of the three recruits too, Vitinha and Nordi Mukiele. Not Hugo Ekitke, unsummoned. Paris, it will be heavy.
“I think it’s good to have a French club at this level, it’s nice to see big stars come to our league. This raises the level. Maybe it’s harder to get a result, but that’s fine. When you are a competitor, you aspire to play against a team of this caliber. I hope that in the future they will succeed in winning the C1 to enrich the prize list of French football. It can only be more rewarding for our country.Sissoko swears, heaping praise on his future opponent. And to continue:We will have to go there being strong, solid, having self-confidence, even if we know that we are playing a great European“.
I’m not coming here as a messiah, and I’m not Messi, it’s not with my coming that we’re going to finish on the podium, but I’m coming to bring my qualities and my experience.
Europe, the people of Nantes will also find it with the Europa League. Here too, Sissoko’s experience will not be too much for a group that has lost its top scorer from last season, Randal Kolo Muani (Eintracht Frankfurt), but who can always count on Alban Lafont, Moses Simon or Ludovic Blas. At least for the moment, the three players being likely to leave the nest by the end of the transfer window… Evann Guessand (on loan from Nice) and Mostafa Mohamed (on loan from Galatasaray), they arrived after Sissoko, who come “not as a messiahas he said to The Team. “And I am not Messi, it is not with my arrival that we will finish on the podium, but I come to bring my qualities and my experience“, he continued.
His recruitment, however, aroused a significant tremor in Nantes. “That’s flattering. It’s always nice to see that we are wanted. (…) I know that there will necessarily be waiting given my career and the fact that I am a French international, it is something completely legitimate“, he admits on the site of the LFP, he who finds his former neighbor Charles Traoré and his ex-Tulousian teammate Kader Bamba at the FCN. “I give my vision in relation to what I have seen abroad and with the France team, without taking myself for the coach and positioning myself above the other players“, he hammers. And to summarize:I come back to France with much more experience and life (…) after ten wonderful years“.
The Blues in a corner of the head
It remains to be seen which Moussa Sissoko we will find in Nantes, at 32 years old. After suffering the throes of relegation with Watford and livinga complicated season“, he assured, in a press conference”hunger for victories“. On the LFP website, he explains that he would be delighted to play in 8, his “preferential position“, but specifies that it will be “at the service of the collective“. If he did not shine with his offensive prowess in 2021-22, Sissoko “do not hide“that he”like to score. I want to set myself a number of goals“, he slips. All with the Blues in a corner of the head. If he has not been called up since Euro 2020, last summer, the Francilien will “try to put all the chances on (his) side to be part of the adventurein Qatar this winter. “What could be better than launching the transfer window with Moussa“said Frank Kita, general manager of the club, at a press conference. And what better way for Sissoko to start his season with a title this Sunday?