Nine questions for Newcastle's new No 9 ahead of derby showdown
As Newcastle prepare to entertain fierce rivals Sunderland at St James' Park on Sunday, Sportsmail's Colin Young caught up with the latest player to wear the Magpies' famous No 9 shirt, Senegal striker Papiss Demba Cisse.
1) What are your memories of growing up in Dakar, and when was the first time you played with a real football/in real boots
Dakar, as you know, is the capital of Senegal and the largest city in the country. It sits next to the Atlantic Ocean and as such is a major port. It is a thriving city but also has some areas of poverty. I played football from a very young age, all my friends did, as it was very popular in the city. We didn’t have boots when we were young children but I wore them when I joined the local academy.
Boot-iful: Cisse started playing football as a child without boots
2) How did you end up moving to Europe
I played at the Academy in Dakar (Generation Foot) and then with AS Douanes in the Senegal Premier League. I did well enough there to be taken to Metz in 2004 which was a good move for me.
3) You were very successful in Germany. What is the main difference between the Bundesliga and Barclays Premier League
The Premier League and Bundesliga are not that different. Maybe the pace and physicality is a little more intense in England but the two leagues have a lot in common. There is maybe more strength in depth in the teams in England and maybe more overseas talent, players like Sergio Aguero for example, but they are both good leagues to play in.
4) Had you heard of Newcastle United as a boy When did you first learn about the club
Newcastle are a very important and famous club. I knew about them before I left Senegal when they played in the Champions League. Since then I knew they played in the UEFA Cup for a few seasons when I was playing in Metz.
Dream debut: Cisse scored against Aston Villa on his Newcastle bow
5) How different is Newcastle to the other places you have lived
Newcastle is nice and I like it. It is an interesting City with some lovely buildings and shops I like all the bridges along the river too. The people are very friendly as well and that is important to me.
6) What experience of derby matches have you had in your career
In Germany there were no other teams really close to us in the south of the country with Stuttgart, Hoffenheim and Munich being the three closest cities so I suppose they were close rivals, but nothing like Newcastle and Sunderland!
7) Have you been told about the importance of the game against Sunderland and are you prepared for the atmosphere on Sunday
The manager, the coaches and my team-mates have been talking about it all week and believe me, they have drummed into me exactly what it means to the club and especially the supporters. It is the biggest game of the season and I cannot wait for Sunday to come around.
Brothers in arms: Cisse plays alongside compatriot Demba Ba at Newcastle
8) Demba Ba has done very well at Newcastle. What are his main strengths as a striker
I could say a lot of things about Demba. He is strong, has good pace, can shoot with both feet, strong in the air, very technical and is a great team player to have on your side.
9) The No 9 shirt is very special in England, and particularly at Newcastle United. Do you understand the importance of the shirt to Newcastle fans
Yes I do. I have been told all about Alan Shearer, and of course I know what a good player he was for England too, There are others too and I know what a special number it is and how privileged I am to be wearing it.