Papiss Cissé reveals incredible tale of leaving ambulance driving behind to become a professional footballer

Scoring an absolute thunderbolt against Chelsea or representing his beloved Senegal may never have occurred if Papiss Cissé didn’t take the advice of his sibling.

Prior to his stint as a professional footballer, the forward dedicated his life to saving others, working as an ambulance driver. But despite his kind nature, he always had an itch left unscratched — to prove his athletic talent to the world.

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Speaking exclusively to Behind The White Lines, he reminisced: “Being an ambulance driver was my first job in my career, because I worked in a hospital. I did a lot of collections for the sick, if women are pregnant so they don’t lose their babies. Sometimes I’d have to drive two or three hours just to get someone to the good hospital.

“But on the other side, my big brother was telling me that I had to go and play football, because you can help your community this way. Somebody can be an ambulance driver like you, we can find another driver like you, but we can’t find a lot of players like you.”

In a sparkling career, Cissé established his place among the greatest strikers in Africa. But despite his achievements, he never lost track of where he came from.

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Papis Cissé dedicates his success to his father

In a testament to his transparency, the 38-year-old confessed he wouldn’t be anywhere without his dad.


He confessed: “My best friend I always say, I look at him when I go home, he’s getting old now, but this is my man – my Dad. Because I saw what he had to do to provide us with food. He’s a great Dad; the best. He’s a strong guy. Every time I see him, I think this is me. He’s shown me the way on how to be strong, how to manage my life, to work and work hard.

“When I signed professionally, I knew I had to look after him until the end of my career. I said to him, ‘Stop working! Everything you need, I’m going to provide it to you for free’, because he deserves it, you and mum, sister and brother at home.”

Papiss Cissé encounters snow for the first time

Upon his arrival in Europe, the footballer had to deal with a very different reality from the one he’d become accustomed to at home. Most notably, it was significantly colder.

The player said: “When I came from Africa and arrived in France, I didn’t know anybody. Even before I came, I was saying, ‘I’m worried’. When I arrived, the first thing I saw, and I hadn’t seen it all my life in Africa, was snow! I said to my agent when I arrived in Luxembourg, ‘I’m gonna go back. I’ve got to go back; it’s too cold’.

“After that, I arrived at the academy in FCM (Metz), and everything was hard and trying to adapt to the football was very hard, because it’s not the same style of football. I had to jump then to becoming a European footballer, but in my mind, I said ‘I am here, I have to do this‘, because I knew what was happening behind me back at home, and I had to help my family.”

Featured Image Credit: Getty