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Former Liverpool and Juventus star joins FC Pune City as marquee player

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Indian Super League (ISL) franchise FC Pune City on Saturday announced their marquee player, signing former Liverpool and Juventus star Mohamed Sissoko for this year's edition of the football tournament, subject to medical clearance.

The 31-year-old, the youngest marquee player of the ISL, was a part of the Liverpool side that won the Community Shield in 2006 and FA Cup in 2005-06. He also won consecutive UEFA Super Cup titles in 2004 and 2005, first with Valencia CF and then with Liverpool. He won the Spanish league with Valencia during the 2003-04 season.

Born in France, Sissoko opted to play for his ancestral country Mali making his international debut in 2004. He started his youth career in 1998 with French club Auxerre. In 2003, the defensive midfielder moved to Spain representing Valencia CF on a free transfer.

Expressing his excitement on joining FC Pune City, Sissoko said,"The moment FC Pune City expressed their interest and discussed their plans, I knew this was the challenge I would love to take up. Coach Habas and FC Pune City management showed full confidence in me and I will do everything in my abilities to fight for a place in starting XI for every game because FC Pune City team is so good and compact."

In the summer of 2005, the midfielder joined Liverpool in the English Premier League (EPL). From 2005-2008 at Merseyside, Sissoko was an integral part of the team that won the FA Cup in 2006. His exceptional performance with the English club prompted European giants like Barcelona, CSKA Moscow and Juventus to show interest in him. But he chose to stay with Liverpool until 2008.

Sissoko then joined Italian giants Juventus in 2008. He teamed up with Claudio Ranieri, his coach at Valencia, after Benitez left for Liverpool. He represented the Turin side 71 times until injuries kept him out of action.

In 2011, he joined the Ligue 1 side Paris St. Germain where he played for them for a couple of years and even captained the French giants. He then represented Fiorentina and Levante for short stints before moving to Shanghai Shenhua in 2015.

Pune City head coach Antonio Habas, who coached Sissoko at Valencia CF, was happy to join forces with the player again.

"Sissoko is a true professional having played for reputed clubs across Europe. He told us that he is ready to take the field whenever required. He is known to be a great ball winner, a role that will allow him to support our offence for winning back possession," Habas said.

"I am excited at the prospect of working with him again, this time for bringing glory to FC Pune City."