Another No. 9 hero

Magpies manager Alan Pardew claimed that Papiss Demba Cisse was his first choice replacement for Andy Carroll, who departed for Liverpool 12 months earlier, and after his debut against Aston Villa it was easy to see why. By Joseph Fitzpatrick.

Newcastle fans love to worship a No. 9 and in Papiss Demba Cisse they could have another folk hero to idolise. Cisse made the move to St. James' Park from Bundesliga outfit Freiburg in January in a GBP10 million deal which came totally out of the blue.

Magpies manager Alan Pardew claimed that Cisse was his first choice replacement for Andy Carroll, who departed for Liverpool 12 months earlier, and after his debut against Aston Villa it was easy to see why.

With the score level at 1-1 Jonas Gutierrez' cross found Cisse, who controlled the ball on his chest before lashing an unstoppable winner from the edge of the box past Shay Given — a strike Pardew described as “boy's annual stuff”.

Jackie Milburn, Wyn Davies, Andy Cole, Les Ferdinand and Alan Shearer are just a few of the Geordie heroes who have donned the No. 9 shirt over the years.

And Newcastle legend Shearer has welcomed Cisse's willingness to take on the challenge of following in such famous footsteps.

“I can understand why it was kept empty when Andy left, but something has been missing,” Newcastle's all time top-scorer said. “The most important thing is that Cisse actually wants to wear it, he wants that responsibility and that's half the battle. There are expectations that come with it, but the biggest is a simple one — that you score goals.”

And on the evidence of Cisse's record at Freiburg, the 26-year-old Senegal striker looks to be up to the task. In his two-and-half seasons with the Bundesliga strugglers, Cisse netted 39 times in 67 matches and in the 2010/11 campaign his tally of 22 goals was bettered only by Bayern Munich's GBP30 million-rated Germany international Mario Gomez.

That impressive haul broke Tony Yeboah's 18-year record for the most number of goals by an African player in a single season in Germany and wrote another chapter is his inspiring story.

Cisse's father ensured he had a strict upbringing in a country where poverty was rife and electricity was sparse — but the striker, second of five children, is grateful for an upbringing which has stood him in good stead.

“I was happy growing up. During my childhood in Senegal I learned from my family about how to respect people and I hope to use this in the future.”

His rags to riches story was set in motion when as a 14-year-old, Cisse was spotted kicking a ball around with his friends in the Dakar streets and he subsequently signed for local club Douanes Dakar before moving to French team FC Metz. He was sent out on loan from FC Metz twice in four seasons.

Cisse's talents were always likely to lead him to Europe but the Senegal international is yet to be joined by his family.

He added: “I knew from my childhood that I had to go and travel to find a job so I travelled and for me it's quite easy. I'm on my own. I've always been on my own since I started in Europe. There are no plans to bring my family here yet. My small brother has had a test at Freiburg but he got an ankle injury so that test just lasted three days. My little brother is always saying ‘ I'm better than you'”.

Cisse has a familiar face in Senegal strike partner Demba Ba to help him settle in and if he does turn out to be the latest fans' favourite at St. James' Park, he will be welcomed with open arms throughout the city and beyond.

Cisse is not married and it is not known if he is in a relationship. It is also not known what Cisse drives but he revealed he has a love of fast cars.

FACTFILE Name: Papiss Demba Cisse Position: Forward Club: Newcastle D.O.B: 03/06/1985 Senegal caps: 17 Senegal goals: 10 Moment to remember

His match-winning debut goal for Newcastle against Aston Villa.

Moment to forget

Losing all three matches in this year's African Cup of Nations, resulting in Senegal's early exit.

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