Moussa Sissoko

I’ve worked closely with L’Equipe over many years now, mostly on behalf of Offside Sports Photography, the agency charged with distributing their archive across the UK. Their publications remain some of the most widely-read in Europe, and the weekly magazine continues to offer some of the most in-depth sports interviews and features available on the continent. Last month, I was asked to photograph Newcastle United and France footballer Moussa Sissoko for what would be their latest cover story. Cue the nerves.

We’d arranged to meet at a hotel in the centre of Newcastle-upon-Tyne on a Sunday afternoon in mid-August. Due to the ill feeling between himself and the Newcastle fans (they all felt he’d shown a lack of effort on the pitch, and that his demands to leave the club were based exclusively on money, and not the desire to play Champions League football, which he claimed), we decided it would be better if we didn’t wander off into the streets around the ground to do the pictures, which is what I’d originally hoped for. Instead, we opted for the immediate (and surprisingly less-hideous than you might think) surroundings of the hotel and the hotel car park!

Despite what anyone might say about him as a footballer, he couldn’t have been more welcoming as a person, and more accommodating too – he helped me carry my cameras, lights and bags up and down fire escape stairwells, clambering across walls to get to the positions I wanted to shoot him in. And at the end of the shoot, he did a small video message for a young friend of mine too who is a huge NUFC fan – top man…



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