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Aliou Cisse - here's what happened to a Birmingham City favourite

Birmingham Mail logo Birmingham Mail 02/05/2018 Shane Ireland

Ex-Birmingham City midfielder Aliou Cisse is fondly remembered at St Andrew's after a particularly impressive debut season.

His move to Blues from Montpellier in 2002 coincided with the club's first season back in the top flight for 16 years.

What became of Cisse and what's he doing nowadays?

Shane Ireland reports:


Steve Bruce admitted he decided to sign Cisse when he saw him play against Patrick Vieira in Senegal's World Cup win over France.

"As soon as I saw his performance against France we confirmed that we would go ahead with the deal.

a young man holding a sign © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc

"When I saw his performance against possibly the best midfielder in the world in Vieira it made me push all the buttons to try and make the deal work.

"He can play in various positions but we see him ideally as a defensive midfield player."

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Cisse said he was excited to be moving to St Andrews'.

"I am looking forward to playing in England and I know Steve Bruce from his time at Manchester United where he was a very good aggressive player," he said.

"Birmingham are new to the Premiership and I am looking forward to the challenge. I adore the Premiership and I adore English football.

a crowd of people watching a football ball © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc

"You should aim high as a player and for me playing in the World Cup and now the Premiership is my way of doing that.

"To play at this level will mean so much to me."

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Cisse played an integral part in Birmingham's midfield as they ended up confounding their pre-season critics who had tipped them for relegation, although his campaign was cut short with an injury in February.

Before that, in October 2002, Cisse lost 12 members of his family in a ferry disaster off the coast of Gambia. The Senegalese showed incredible resolve by helping Blues to victory at West Ham just three days later.

a man standing next to a stadium © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc

His time at St Andrew's came to an end in 2004 with a £300,000 move to Portsmouth, his career at Blues coming to an unsatisfactory end because of injury and indiscipline - including reporting back late for pre-season training.

But what happened next in the popular midfielder's career?


Cisse chided Blues after helping frustrate them on his return to St Andrew's with Portsmouth in 2005, saying: 'you don't play proper football'.

"I was really happy to come back to Birmingham," said Cisse.

"Birmingham is my former club and I will never forget it. Especially the supporters, they helped me when I had the most difficult moment in my life.

"I am disappointed because I didn't play many years in Birmingham but that is life. It is behind me. I look forward. The people who helped me the most were the fans. I got many letters from them, it was difficult to leave.

a man playing a game of football © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc

"Birmingham have a good team but I think they now have to play football. They have to pass the ball.

"They kick the ball long, they play it to Emile Heskey. Before we came here we knew how they played so it was easy to deal with."

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After two seasons at Portsmouth, Cisse returned to France - the country in which he begun playing football.

He signed for then top tier side CS Sedan, with whom he had a short spell in the late nineties, playing 21 league games across two years and doing something he never managed to achieve in England - scoring a goal!

It was during this time that in 2007, the Stevens inquiry into football corruption expressed concerns about his transfer from Birmingham to Portsmouth three years earlier.

From Sedan Cisse moved to Ligue 2 outfit Nimes Olympique, where after a single season and at the age of 33 he hung up his boots.


Three years after retiring as a player Cisse was employed for a year as Senegal U23s' assistant manager, before taking up the full manager's post a year later.

In March 2015 he was offered the job as manager of the senior side and duly accepted.

His Senegal side topped their group in the African Cup of Nations earlier this year and although they were knocked out in the quarter-finals, the Lions of Teranga have gone from strength to strength since.

Credits: Getty Images Europe © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc Credits: Getty Images Europe

Getty Images Europe

In 2017, they secured their qualification to next summer’s World Cup finals in Russia, drawn in Group H with Poland, Colombia and Japan.

The last time Senegal reached that stage, in 2002, Cisse captained his country to the quarter-finals.


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