Liverpool cult hero who 'knocked manager to ground' in training bust-up finds club – Football News

Liverpool cult hero who 'knocked manager to ground' in training bust-up finds club

Couple Majda Sakho and Mamadou Sakho outside Stephane Rolland during the Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2024 as part of Paris Fashion Week (Image: GETTY)

It’s been a staggering 255 days since former Liverpool star Mamadou Sakho last graced the football pitch in a competitive match.

His last start was a whopping 402 days ago, in a thrilling 5-4 defeat to Lyon back in May 2023. A brief six-minute cameo for Montpellier in a 3-0 triumph over FC Lorient on October 1 marked his sole appearance of the 2023/24 season.

The ex-Liverpool defender found himself sidelined at the Ligue 1 club during the 2022/23 season, making a mere 15 league appearances – only seven of which were starts. He was left warming the bench as an unused substitute no less than 17 times.

His luck didn’t improve with the dawn of the 2023/24 season, leading to an early and bitter departure from Montpellier.

Sakho parted ways with the club in November following a heated training ground spat with manager Michel Der Zakarian. French sports newspaper L’Equipe initially reported that Sakho had taken umbrage when his boss failed to award him a foul during training, reports the Liverpool Echo.

When later confronted by his coach, who reportedly labelled him a ‘cry-baby’, the 34 year old is said to have physically retaliated, knocking Der Zakarian to the ground.

Following Der Zakarian’s appointment in February 2023, Sakho made just six appearances for the club. Less than two weeks after their November clash, Sakho and Montpellier mutually agreed to terminate his contract.

“For 10 days, a media frenzy has been created around the club around a ‘clash’ between Michel Der Zakarian and Mamadou Sakho,” Montpellier announced in a statement. “Contrary to what has been said and relayed, no precautionary dismissal has been taken against Mamadou Sakho.

“After 10 days of reflection, the parties agreed, in good faith, to put an end to the contractual relationship between them. The MHSC would like to thank Mamadou Sakho for his involvement during his time in Montpellier and wish him, as well as his family, the best for the future.”

However, Sakho, who denies any responsibility for the clash, took to social media to criticise the club when confirming his own departure.

“You have to know how to leave the table when respect is no longer served,” he posted on Instagram. “Following the incident that took place last week at the training centre and for which I decline all responsibility, I have decided on this day of 02/11/2023 to end my collaboration with Montpellier Herault Sports Club.”

Sakho has remained without a club since leaving Montpellier, not signing with a new team after the January transfer window opened. However, the 34 year old has made a surprising return to football eight months after his last competitive match.

The ex-Liverpool defender has signed with Georgian team Torpedo Kutaisi. RMC Sport reports that the 34 year old has agreed to a one-year contract with the club, with the option to extend for an additional year.

Former Blackburn Rovers manager Steve Kean is currently at the helm of Torpedo Kutaisi, a team that holds the second position in the Erovnuli Liga and will participate in the first qualifying round of next season’s Europa Conference League.

The Georgian club has confirmed on their official website that they have successfully negotiated terms with former France international Mamadou Sakho after two months of discussions.

In an official statement, they announced: “The contract with Mamadou Sakho has been agreed,” adding, “After Paris Saint-Germain, Liverpool, Crystal Palace and Montpellier, the next club in Mamadou Sakho’s career is Kutaisi Torpedo.”

They further revealed that the 34 year old footballer is set to arrive in Tbilisi on June 12 for a medical examination. An official signing ceremony is scheduled at New Vision University on June 13 at 3pm.

The club stated: “Negotiations between Mamadou Sakho and Kutaisi Torpedo lasted for about two months and the parties agreed on all the details of his transfer. The player will not only help Kutaisi Torpedo to win titles, but he will be a kind of ambassador to the international football community.”

In addition to his playing duties, Sakho will also contribute to the club’s economic projects and various public and charitable activities. He will work alongside club manager Steve Kean in developing the Kutaisi Torpedo Academy, mentoring young players and ensuring their professional development.

Fondly remembered by Liverpool fans, Sakho’s 2015/16 season was abruptly curtailed due to a doping ban, later retracted and apologised for by the World Anti-Doping Agency.

Despite proving popular with the Anfield faithful, he never featured for Liverpool again after breaching discipline rules on a pre-season tour of America under Jurgen Klopp’s reign. The Frenchman reportedly nearly missed the outbound flight before missing a recovery session and lateness to a team meal led to him training exclusively with the Under-23s.

After Stoke City and West Bromwich Albion pursued Sakho during summer transfer window, he oddly took to Snapchat at 3am to vent his vexations following recovery from injury.

“Now it’s three weeks I am fit to play games. They don’t want me to play with segonde (U23s) team lol,” he wrote. “Still working hard like Scouse Soldier! Still not talking cos I want to speak on the pitch….I will speak soon for the people who support me and don’t understand the situation (emoji).

“Still happy to live in my Liverpool Country (emoji) with my family, hope to have chance to play soon to give my best like I try to always do! I accept my situation but I can’t accept the lie….the fans deserve to know the true! Thanks for your support (emoji) 6 six months stay quiet. Have good night everybody! You’ll never walk alone! (emoji).”

By January 2017, Sakho had taken the hint and made his departure for Crystal Palace on a loan deal as the transfer deadline loomed, before the move was later made permanent for a cool £26m in September 2017. The Eagles lodged their fourth attempt of the window for the centre-back’s services, prompting Liverpool to lower their previous asking price of £30m.

His stint at Selhurst Park initially seemed successful, with the Frenchman notching up 75 appearances over his four-and-a-half-year spell. However, injury issues marred his time there – playing just six games during his final season in 2020/21.

The defender then moved back to his native France lacing boots for Montpellier, but this, along with his time at Liverpool and Palace, ended rather unceremoniously. He is now striving to turn things around whilst plying his trade in Georgia.