By 90Min
October 17, 2018

Crystal Palace defender Mamadou Sakho has offered fans an insight into his journey to becoming a professional footballer, opening up about a childhood filled with rough sleeping and begging for money.

The France international is a seasoned veteran in the Premier League, having arrived from Paris Saint-Germain back in 2013. Sakho has gone on to make 91 appearances in the top flight, and he has been the subject of over £44m worth of transfer fees.

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However, the 28-year-old hasn't always enjoyed the high life. Growing up in the French capital, Sakho explains how a combination of growing up in a rough area, having seven siblings and losing his father at the age of 13 impacted his childhood.

"I had quite a difficult life when I was young, but those hard moments helped me to grow up and be the man who I am today," Sakho told CNN.

"Nobody can tell me that I don't know what it's like to not have food in the fridge, or nobody can tell me what cold is outside, to sleep outside or to ask for some coins, or to rob just to eat some food, because it was my life when I was young. It was my real life.

"I would say it helped me to have quite a good mentality, a strong mentality. It's why I always said to myself, when I'm someone one day, I will give back...because I know what it is it not to eat or sleep for a few days. Though I always say I never talk about it because I'm proud."

The Frenchman's career started in 1996 when he joined local side Paris FC. Just six years later Sakho would join the city's biggest club, PSG, and he would go on to spend over a decade with Les Parisiens, eventually making over 200 appearances for their first team.

Sakho's big money move to Liverpool in 2013 didn't quite live up to expectations. Although the Frenchman made 80 appearances for the Reds, he was never able to nail down a first team place and was eventually moved out on loan to Selhurst Park.

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It was in south-east London that Sakho would get his stalling career back on track, putting in top-class performances for Crystal Palace and eventually joining the Eagles permanently for £25m.

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