Louis Saha – The games that changed my life

 Louis Saha – The games that changed my life
(Image credit: Getty Images)

France 1-0 Portugal
July 31, 1997 Under-18 Euros final

“The tournament was held in Iceland and we won it – I scored the winner in extra time. It was an amazing feeling to lift the trophy and put me in the bracket of being a professional. I felt capable of competing well at that level, and it meant I was one of the top young players in Europe. 

It created opportunities in my life that didn’t seem real. Everything was moving so fast, but I loved the tournament and scoring the winning goal for my country – even if I can’t remember it! But I started to get really motivated by those situations.” 

Metz 4-1 Bordeaux
August 8, 1997 Ligue 1

“I scored on my Metz debut. That was a crazy, special day, because it was also my 19th birthday and all my family were there. The day before, the manager [Joel Muller] said he was going to name me on the bench – I was nervous and asking for guidance from any faith. But deep inside I felt confident and was just waiting for the moment to arrive. 

I came on in the last minute and scored straight away! I thought, ‘If I can score after a minute on the pitch, I can definitely get a few more with 90’. Robert Pires was the club’s star man, so for him to give me the assist was incredible.”

Manchester United 3-2 Southampton
January 31, 2004 Premier League

“One of my dreams was to play for the biggest team in the world. When I arrived in England on loan with Newcastle in 1999, I saw Man United win the Treble. I saw what Dwight Yorke and Andy Cole were doing – and I wanted that.

I was envious of the atmosphere at Old Trafford. It’s tough to describe scoring there on my debut. You feel like you have to be naïve and live in the moment, but I was travelling around the world in my head, thinking how many people would want to be in my position. You have to respect it by working bloody hard. There weren’t any left-footed free-kick takers on the field as [Ryan] Giggsy wasn’t playing, so I took my opportunity.

I grabbed the ball, and no one wanted to put me off and step in! It ended up in the net after a deflection. When you grasp moments like those, because you want to prove a point and enjoy it as much as you can, extraordinary things happen.”

Louis Saha – The games that changed my life

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Belgium 0-2 France
February 18, 2004 Friendly

“It was very hard to get in the squad because France had won Euro 2000 and the 1998 World Cup. I had to fight for three or four years just to have a chance.

I had a bad ankle injury when I joined the camp, but was able to start and everything clicked. Thierry Henry and David Trezeguet weren’t there, so I was upfront alongside Peguy Luyindula. Physically it was tough up against Vincent Kompany, but it was so easy to play with our midfield at the time.

The maestro, Zinedine Zidane, passed me the ball for my goal. What better introduction to the national team could you ask for?”

Louis Saha – The games that changed my life

(Image credit: Getty Images)

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