Mamadou Sakho has left Montpellier after terminating his contract with the club following an altercation with the club’s manager, Michel Der Zakarian, at the training ground.
“You have to know how to leave the table when respect is no longer served.” He wrote on Instagram. He also talks about how he refuses to take any blame for the altercation between himself and the manager. Finally, he announced that he has ended his sporting collaboration with Montpellier.
“For ten days, a media frenzy has been created around the club around a ‘clash’ between Michel Der Zakarian and Mamadou Sakho,” Montpellier said in a statement.
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What actually happened?
The conflict occurred on the 1st of November. Sakho arrived late for training and was confronted by his manager about his unpunctuality. The French Defender and Der Zakarian argued, the argument escalated and the confrontation ended with the manager on the ground.
Other players and staff members intervened to break up the fight, with reports suggesting that the Center Back was extremely outraged. He left the training ground immediately and did not return to training the next day. On Friday, it was announced that he had decided to terminate his contract with the club.
The exact details of what happened at the training ground are still unclear. Both, him and Der Zakarian have declined to comment on the incident. However, it is clear that something serious happened, and that it was enough for Sakho to terminate his contract with the club.
Despite the unfortunate series of events, Sakho’s departure will have a major impact on Montpellier’s performances. Sakho’s experience at the top level, made him an invaluable player to a team like Montpellier. His presence allowed Montpellier to keep 4 clean sheets in 11 appearances. Sakho’s departure is also a setback for Der Zakarian. The manager has been under pressure this season because of his team’s mediocre performances, and the incident with Sakho is likely to increase the scrutiny on him.
What does the future hold for Sakho?
Theoretically, Sakho can offer his services to any club in the world. He’s a player that has a lot to offer despite his age. But with the way things ended with Montpellier, clubs across the world may be hesitant to make a move. Clubs now-a-days value behaviour off the pitch just as much as they do on the pitch. Incidents like these don’t bode well for anyone seeking an employment let alone a top footballer in the public eye.
Sakho’s departure from Montpellier is a sad conclusion to his chapter at the club. He had a positive impact on the team and helped the club to achieve its goals. However, it is clear that something happened at the training ground that was serious enough for him to terminate his contract. It is also not the first time something like this has happened with the Frenchman. In 2016, he was suspended by his then club, Liverpool, after refusing to wear a club-branded shirt during a training session.
Despite all that has happened in the past, Sakho has the opportunity to improve his reputation in his next stint. He must show that he is committed to football and work hard to regain his fitness and his form if he wants to put the past behind him.
For Der Zakarian, he must look inwards and question his need to improve his man-management skills. It is surprising that he couldn’t resolve the issue in a more amicable way. And for Montpellier, they will now have to learn to play without Sakho and hope that they don’t slip further down the table as they do.