Djibril's life

Noted for his pace and eye-catching hairstyles, extrovert striker Djibril Cisse provides a dynamic edge to the Liverpool attack when on song but is currently struggling to score the goals to justify his selection and faces a battle to win a place in the FRANCE WORLD CUP squad, writes ANDY HAMPSON.

Noted for his pace and eye-catching hairstyles, extrovert striker Djibril Cisse is one of the most enigmatic strikers in the Barclays English Premier League.

The 24-year-old provides a dynamic edge to the Liverpool attack when on song but is currently struggling to score the goals to justify his selection — not to mention his record GBP14million transfer fee — and faces a battle to win a place in the France World Cup squad.

Cisse was born in Arles, south France, the seventh child of Mangue and Karidjata Cisse, who had moved from Ivory Coast in 1974. Football was in Cisse's blood, his father Mangue having captained his country, although he was mainly brought up by his mother after his parents divorced. He played football with his brothers at Arles as a child and his talent saw him picked up by Nimes Olympique at the age of 11. His development continued and three years later he was signed by Auxerre.

Cisse soon made a made an impact in the junior ranks and further impressed in the France under-age sides. He made his first-team debut for Auxerre at the age of 17 in March 1999 and was part of the France team that won the European Under-18 Championship the following year. He scored six goals in the 2001 World Youth Championship and helped the Under-21s qualify for the European finals of 2002, but by then he was an Auxerre regular, a full international and bound for the World Cup.

After finishing France's top goalscorer domestically with 22, Cisse played in all three group games as his country made a disappointing defence of their world crown in Korea and Japan. His country's problems barely affected him, however, as his career continued to flourish. He scored 14 more goals in 2002-03 to help Auxerre win the French Cup and began to attract envious glances from around Europe. He was eventually lured to Liverpool by their French manager Gerard Houllier during the 2003-04 campaign, although he saw out the season with Auxerre, scoring 26 goals.

Suspension forced him to miss Euro 2004 and by the time he was ready to join Liverpool, Houllier had left and been replaced by Spaniard Rafael Benitez. It did not appear to matter to him, however, as he impressed in pre-season and then scored on his Premier League debut against Tottenham. Barely had his Liverpool career begun, though, than it was threatened after suffering a serious broken leg in a Premier League match at Blackburn. So bad was the injury there were fears his leg may be amputated but he made a full recovery and the season ended happily as he played a role in Liverpool's Champions League success.

Cisse has not lived up to expectations during the 2005-06 campaign and has often been left on the bench by Benitez. Liverpool have struggled for goals this season but Cisse has not really taken the chances offered to him and rumours that he may soon leave the club have persisted for most of the season.

Despite that, however, he remains one of the most colourful characters in the game. Cisse knows how to put on a show and his marriage to Welsh hairdresser Jude Littler last June was certainly that. The pair wed in a lavish ceremony for 200 guests at Bodelwyddan Castle, north Wales, Cisse typically standing out in a bright red suit. They live together in a manor house in the affluent village of Frodsham, Cheshire. The estate, set in nine acres of land, carries the honorary title Lord of the Manor of Frodsham and was part of the route of the Cheshire Forest Hunt. Cisse has now banned hunting on his land after the League Against Cruel Sports contacted him when he bought the property. Cisse drives a custom-made Chrysler 300C, a big and sporty sedan boasting a 425-horsepower engine.

Factfile Position: Striker Club: Liverpool DOB: August 12, 1981 France Caps: 27 France Goals: 9 France debut: v Belgium, May 2002 Moment to remember:

Cisse had a hand in helping Liverpool win the Champions League last year as he came off the bench in the final against AC Milan in Istanbul and scored in the penalty shootout victory.

Moment to forget:

Cisse earned a red card for kicking an opponent in an Under-21 match against Portugal in February 2004 and was then abusive towards the referee before leaving the field. The subsequent ban ruled him out of Euro 2004.

* * * WHAT THEY SAID

"They are getting grey and old and it is a hard decision. But it is nice to pass on the experience and knowledge you have. I think Martin Jol [Tottenham manager] had more hair when I first came. Can you imagine me going the same way?"

— Edgar Davids ponders losing his famous dreadlocks by moving into management when his playing days are over.

"Drogba just dives about all the time. For me he dives and feigns injury. My player never touched him. That is him and his character."

— West Brom manager Bryan Robson reacts after Chelsea's Didier Drogba's theatrical fall following a clash with midfielder Jonathan Greening.

"Why should Manchester City pay me for not being their manager? I have been fortunate to earn a decent wage as a player, and now as a manager. I don't want to be wrangling with the chief executive for a couple of quid. My wife thinks I am an idiot, but that is my view."

— Man. City manager Stuart Pearce on his decision not to have a compensation clause in his new contract.

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