‘Killer’ centre half vows to shed any more tears after Anfield switch.
A tear may have trickled down Mamadou Sakho’s cheek the day he said goodbye to Paris Saint-Germain but the burly centre-back has vowed to put that sad story behind him.
The arrivals of Brazilian duo Thiago Silva and Marquinhos, alongside the presence of their countryman Alex, at the Parc des Princes over the last year left centre-back Sakho somewhat in limbo.
He lost his place in the Parisian team and also found himself surplus to requirements for his country.
But a €19m move to Liverpool just before transfer deadline day has revived his faltering career.
Called up again for France’s World Cup qualifier against Finland at the Stade de France next Tuesday, as well as Friday’s friendly at his old home ground against Australia, Sakho says he has no regrets about leaving PSG, but also no hard feelings.
It didn’t seem that way, though, when he shed a tear when being interviewed ahead of PSG’s clash with Monaco last month, just three weeks after leaving the club, as he returned to the Parc des Princes where he spent 11 years of his footballing development.
“Some people said I shouldn’t have done that (cried) with respect to Liverpool,” he said in an interview published in Le Parisien newspaper on Tuesday.
“To them I apologise for having spent half my life in Paris [he was actually born and raised in Paris his whole life], for having had teachers who helped me to grow up as a man.
“More seriously, though, it’s obvious that I have a strong connection with PSG and that I didn’t leave without emotion.
“The moment of the interview I was thinking about my father Souleymane who departed when I was 13.
“My mother was in the stands and I told myself that I’d have also liked to see my father watching me in that moment. I know he would have been proud of his son, and that’s when the tears flowed.”
Sakho does not try to hide the fact that PSG is the team in his heart, and he still watches their games.
“I remain a Paris fan for life. I saw the match against Marseille (a 2-1 win with 10-men on Sunday) in a restaurant. With every goal I got up to sing: ‘Here, it’s Paris’.”
But remaining at PSG having been shunted down the pecking order was not an option for the highly ambitious Sakho, who believes market forces played a role in his demise at his home-town club.
“I had to quit Paris to get back in the France squad,” he said.
“Being picked again proves many things. That I still have that level. Most of all that I didn’t leave to join a big club because of the competition (at PSG).
“At Liverpool there are also very good players in my position, but the competition is clean. At Paris it had become complicated.”
And at Anfield, Sakho believes he is finally being appreciated, particularly by manager Brendan Rogers.
“I’m learning and I listen to the manager’s advice. It’s funny, he calls me Killer.
“On the pitch I’m trying to adapt to my team-mates. And things are getting better and better.”