• Ligue 1

Arsenal bound Sanogo feared for career

ESPN staff
June 24, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »
Yaya Sanogo contemplated a life outside football during the injury © Getty Images
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Soon-to-be Arsenal newboy Yaya Sanogo has admitted he thought his promising career was over before it had even taken off after injury left him unable to run.

A knee problem subsequent to a lower leg fracture sustained in September 2010 left Sanogo, 20, sidelined and battling for full fitness for two years.

However, after contemplating a life outside of professional football, the 1.91-metre striker overcame both injury and his own self-doubt to make his professional debut at Auxerre, whom he joined in 2006 from the club where Thierry Henry began his career and, reportedly, earn himself a four-year deal at Arsenal.

"I underwent physiotherapy for eight months at [France's national football centre] Clairefontaine. At that time, I was all alone. You say to yourself: 'But I can't even run.'

"I said to myself it was finished. I had made a lot of sacrifices. I started playing football at six, arrived at Auxerre at 13, and overnight, I couldn't run any more. You turn in on yourself, and start to think about doing other jobs," he told L'Equipe, adding he was the one who made the make-or-break decision with regard to his career. "One day I said to myself: 'I'm going to push as hard as I can. If it goes, it goes'."

His fragile knee held firm, and having scored nine times in 13 second-tier appearances for Auxerre last season, he is now poised to complete his move to North London after the French Under-20 side's run at the World Cup in Turkey is over.

A Sanogo goal helped Pierre Mankowski's side make a winning start with a 3-1 triumph over Ghana in their opening group game. There was little evidence of the suffering Sanogo had gone through merely to be on the pitch as he wheeled away to the corner flag to celebrate, but he acknowledged his time on the sidelines is never far from his thoughts.

"When I'm on the pitch, I don't really think about it. I was just happy to have scored in the World Cup, it means a lot to me. But you know, what I went through, I think about it all the time," he said.

"I learned a lot from that time. In everything I do today, it plays a role. I knew that I was strong mentally, but I fought against myself."

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