In our latest Q&A, in which you put the questions to Europe's top stars, 22-year-old defender Aly Cissokho discusses life at Olympique Lyonnais following his summer switch from FC Porto. He talks about his proposed move to AC Milan and weighs up the possibility of playing international football for France or Senegal. Log on again on Tuesday to read the second part of this wide-ranging interview.
How do you rate Lyon's chances of winning the Champions League and, other than Lyon, who is your favourite to win the competition?
Aly Cissokho: It's a hard question to start with, and a difficult answer to give! Champions League games are always tight. Our very first match of the campaign against Fiorentina [which Lyon won 1-0] showed how tense ties can be. The UEFA Champions League is really another planet compared to domestic leagues. The physical intensity and the technical ability are second to none. In that respect it's hard to say whether Lyon will go all the way or not. I'd only say we have a very good team – talented and united. One thing is certain though: if you want to go far in the competition you have to win every single game at home. Other than Lyon to win the trophy? I'd mention, not surprisingly, a couple of teams I know well: Porto, because they are still amongst the best teams in the world despite having lost quite a few players over the last few years. I'd also mention Milan. I almost joined them last summer and I still believe they have the mentality to win everything.
Where you disappointed when your alleged transfer to Milan did not get through?
Relja Atanasijevic, Belgrade, Serbia
Cissokho: No, not in the least. People think I've been resentful. That is not the case. I have no complaints, no grievances and no regret about the whole situation. On the contrary, I'd like to thank Porto for having given me the exposure, as well as Milan for expressing an interest in me. It has led to me being transferred to the best club in France, one of the finest clubs at international level.
Do you think being at Lyon and playing regularly in the Champions League will help your chances of being called up by France?
Michel Cardin, Lyon, France
Cissokho: The Champions League is certainly a great stage to be seen and recognised on. Let me just remind you that I have two nationalities: French and Senegalese. I was born in France of Senegalese parents. I am therefore eligible to play for either one of those countries since I haven't been called up by either yet. Senegal have contacted me but the national team is about to miss out on the African Nations Cup as well as the 2010 FIFA World Cup. As for France? Well, there are a few other footballers playing for Les Bleus ahead of me in the pecking order: Evra, Clichy, Abidal. It's quite a few to jump in the queue! I need time. I think the best thing for me for now is not to think about being called up and wait patiently.
What has been the highlight of your time at Lyon so far?
Patrice Fievre, Montreal, Canada
Cissokho: There have been a few already. To be honest, I felt anxious and tense for the first competitive game at Le Mans [a 2-2 draw in Lyon's Ligue 1 opener]. I was concentrating too hard on my defensive duties without being able to bring in the extra elements I delivered at Porto. I wasn't going forward enough. I gradually improved, listening to my team-mates and talking to them as well. I believe my game against Fiorentina was the highlight so far. My performance was good enough in a very demanding competition. I received a few phone calls afterwards, people telling me that I looked at ease in my boots, and it felt good to hear those things!
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