For the first time since leaving FC Metz in 2017, Ismaïla Sarr returns to the first venue of his explosive European debut. Les Messins are back in Ligue 1, while Sarr has returned from an English adventure of ups and downs.
Sarr returns to Metz fans, six years after leaving the club
Having become the new face of the FC Metz - Génération Foot relationship when he made his Ligue 1 debut in 2016, the Senegalese player helped his club stay up. Ismaïla Sarr earned his first call-up to the national team, before becoming Metz's record signing the following summer. After scoring five goals and providing one assist in Ligue 1, he was transferred to Stade Rennais for 17 million euros.
The Senegalese striker did not take part in Rennais' trip to Metz in 2017 due to injury. So, six years later, the new Olympian will be reunited with the fans who have loved him so much. Like Sadio Mané before him, Sarr is a precursor to a promising generation of FC Metz players from the Génération Foot Senegalese academy. These include Pape Matar Sarr and now Lamine Camara. In fact, the Senegalese international's name was inevitably mentioned in the pre-match press conference.
"Ismaila Sarr is a role model"
His former academy teammate in question, Cheikh Tidiane Sabaly, now a Messin winger said, "He's a role model.He's Senegalese like us. We like to have examples like Ismaïla Sarr and others who played at Génération Foot. It's an extra motivation for us."
Sarr (25) saw his progress hampered by his arrival at Watford: injury-prone at a club with little stability. His transfer to Marseille seems to offer him a new chance at the top level. His debut for the Phocaean club augurs well for the future, with his two assists and right-sided defending. Indeed, OM right-back Jonathan Clauss is already delighted with Sarr's presence on his flank: "Personally, I like our partnership.We know how each other works and it's going to get better and better."
It remains to be seen how this duo will perform at Metz's Stade Saint-Symphorien this Friday at 19:00 GMT.