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Senegal’s Babacar joins Sassuolo to chase World Cup dream

Milan (AFP) – Senegalese striker Khouma Babacar said on Thursday that he had taken the painful decision to leave Fiorentina after 11 years to pursue his dream of playing for Senegal in the World Cup.

Babacar completed a loan move from Fiorentina, a team he joined as a 13-year-old in 2008, to Serie A rivals Sassuolo with an obligation to buy at the end of the season.

“My goal is to revive my career, of course I would be happy to go to Russia,” said the 24-year-old who earned his only cap for Senegal last March.

“After eleven years, leaving home was not easy, but at a certain point in life you have to make some choices as a professional. I’m here now, I’m sure we’ll do a lot of good things with the team.”

Babacar made his senior debut for Fiorentina in 2010 at the age of just 16 years, and scored his first goal aged 17. 

“I remember my first game with Fiorentina against Genoa, it was unforgettable,” he said.

Babacar subsequently went on loan to Spanish club Racing Santander and Italian sides Padua and Modena before returning to Tuscany in 2014.

During his successful loan spell at Modena scored 20 goals in 41 games, but on his return to Fiorentina was fighting for a place in the team and with 20 appearances only made three starts this season.

“All that is in the past now. I have this opportunity to demonstrate I still have what it takes,” added Babacar, who scored 27 goals in 97 appearances for Fiorentina. 

He could make his debut for his new team, which is based in the province of Modena, against champions Juventus next Sunday.

“They have great players, but we are a young team too. We will go on the pitch and we will do our best, without team-mates I can’t score goals, we will have to show we work together.”

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