Panathinaikos FC striker Djibril Cissé tells UEFA.com about the tattoo he got to celebrate the club's domestic double last season and how much he likes playing in front of the Greens' fans.
Article top media content
While players regularly profess their affection for their clubs in spoken terms, few go the extra mile and get something physical to show for it − especially one season into a four-year deal.
Having a tattoo to mark winning the domestic double with Panathinaikos FC, however, is exactly what Djibril Cissé did at the end of a memorable 2009/10 campaign.
A Greek Cup winners' medal and a place in the France squad for the FIFA World Cup followed. The body art, explains the 29-year-old, was his way of "saying thank you" for reigniting a career that seemed to be in flux when Olympique de Marseille allowed him to spend most of 2008/09 on loan at Sunderland AFC.
"Yes, I'm very attached [to the club] because they've given me all the tools I needed to do what I've done," said Cissé. "I wanted to be part of the France team for the World Cup and I did that. Thanks to the club because they gave me the opportunity, the confidence and everything to help me succeed. It's my way of saying thank you."
Unsurprisingly, the former AJ Auxerre and Liverpool FC forward is revered by the Panathinaikos supporters, his 23 league goals inspiring the Greens to a first title in six years; Cissé thinks the fans are a bit "special" themselves. "They love their football, they want to win the whole time," he said. "I'd never experienced anything like it before coming here.
"However, I've been lucky to play for clubs with amazing fans – Marseille, Liverpool, even Auxerre to a slightly lesser extent. Sunderland wasn't bad at all either but here is so special – it's a sight to see."
Cissé's prolific form has carried over into this season with seven goals in eight league appearances, including two in last month's 2-1 derby victory against league leaders Olympiacos FC. While things are largely going to plan domestically – Panathinaikos are a point off the pace after nine matches – the same cannot be said of the Greens' UEFA Champions League campaign.
Nikos Nioplias's team are bottom of Group D with two points from four games following last week's 0-0 draw with FC Rubin Kazan. They have the unenviable task of having to beat FC Barcelona in Athens on 24 November to remain in contention, though even that may not be enough should FC København overcome Rubin.
"Barcelona [on Matchday 1] was hard and I think the fact that we took the lead annoyed them even more," said Cissé of the 5-1 loss. "In the next game we didn't manage to react, when it was doable, at home and we didn't manage to take the three points. We've made things difficult for ourselves but we'll have to do it because we want to get through to the next stage."