One of Liverpool’s World Cup players pulled off a stunning training ground trick on Wednesday afternoon - not Luis Suarez or Raheem Sterling, but centre-back Mamadou Sakho.
If you can’t wait to watch the video, scroll down the bottom of this page, where you can watch the 24-year-old France international stun several of his teammates, including Arsenal defender Bacary Sagna, with quite a majestic piece of skill.
Fortunately, the French Football Federation were on hand to upload the imagine to YouTube, where Liverpool supporters can watch their £18 million defender managing to nutmeg himself before bouncing the ball off the back of his head and remain in full control of the football.
Not many central defenders could pull off such a trick - and no doubt the watching France coach Didier Deschamps would have been impressed. However, the former Paris Saint-Germain defender is not guaranteed a start against Honduras in France’s Group E opener on Sunday evening. Real Madrid starlet Raphael Varane is expected to occupy one of the centre-back positions, alongside either Sakho or Arsenal’s Laurent Koscielny.
But Deschamps may have dropped a hint that he will start with Sakho after fielding the Reds’ ace for 90 minutes during Sunday’s emphatic 8-0 friendly victory over Jamaica. The 24-year-old has represented his country on 19 occasions, scoring two goals.
In his debut campaign for Liverpool, Sakho made 18 Premier League appearances, scoring on one occasion. But an impressive showing at this summer’s showpiece international tournament in Brazil may convince Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers to use him on a more regular basis at centre-back next season.
France, meanwhile, are considered dark horses to win this summer’s World Cup finals in Brazil. Les Blues will be looking to show the world that they are united force once again following their shambolic 2010 tournament in South Africa.
Eight years ago they reached the 2006 World Cup final, where Zinedine Zidane was infamously sent off for a head-butt on Italy defender Marco Materazzi. The European nation went on to lose the match on penalties. While four years prior to that they were unceremoniously dumped out in the 2002 tournament in Korea and Japan, despite being the reigning world champions at the time.
Can France do the business this summer - well, if their defenders can produce tricks like this, expect them to match hosts Brazil in the skills stakes, at least.
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