Whatever happened to…Papiss Cissé

Having experienced the best of times and the worst of times at Newcastle United – plummeting from the European competition places to relegation – where did Cissé go next, asks Alasdair Hooper.

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The 2011-12 Premier League season holds fond memories for Newcastle United fans.

In their second season back in the top tier, following 2009’s relegation, they surprised everyone by finishing fifth and qualifying for the Europa League under the management of Alan Pardew.

But for the second half of that season, one man had a particularly influential role in that remarkable finish – Senegal striker Papiss Cissé.

The forward signed for Newcastle midway through the campaign – on January 17, 2012 – and he announced himself to the league in spectacular fashion.

In 14 Premier League games he bagged 13 goals, and one still stands out to this day – that exquisite, dipping strike against Chelsea that was rightly voted the BBC’s Goal of the Season.

Even now, when you watch it back, it’s an utterly beautiful strike and the forward later said it had become his ‘identity’.

Cissé’s form that year, along with fellow Senegalese striker Demba Ba and midfielder Yohan Cabaye, was lauded far and wide as Newcastle qualified for Europe. But – as seems to happen regularly with the club – the good times didn’t last.

The striker’s second season with the club didn’t quite hit the heights of his first few months. He scored eight goals in the Premier League as the club flirted with relegation, eventually staying up in the penultimate game of the season.

Cissé’s third campaign was disrupted by injury, scoring just four times in all competitions, but he did return to better form in his fourth season. He scored 11 goals in 22 league appearances – to finish as the club’s top scorer – but it was a turbulent year overall.

That was the season John Carver took over following Pardew’s departure to Crystal Palace, and the club experienced some of its worst ever form, eventually finishing 15th.

In June 2015 Steve McLaren was appointed as manager at Newcastle, and we all know how that appointment went… The team continued to struggle for form, and were eventually relegated under Rafael Benitez. This proved to be Cissé’s last year. It was also one of his worst personal seasons as he scored just three goals.

So, what happened after his time in the Premier League? As with many footballers at that time, the striker decided to move to the Chinese Super League and the riches that were promised.

He joined Shandong Luneng for an undisclosed fee in 2016, where he stayed until joining Turkish Super Lig side Alanyaspor in 2018.

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He enjoyed two very successful seasons with the team – scoring 16 goals in his first year before following that up with 22 in his second – and that earned him a move in October 2020 to one of the biggest names in Turkish football, Fenerbahçe.

That’s where you will still find Cissé wearing the number 9 shirt; he can include players such as Mesut Ozil and Diego Perotti as current teammates.

Now 35, the striker’s appearances tend to come from the bench with the Turkish giants currently sitting third in their league.

But, with just two points separating the top three, the title race looks set to go to the wire. And, who knows, maybe a last gasp dipping volley from Cissé could prove to be the difference again in the near future.

You can follow Alasdair on Twitter @adjhooper1992

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