Any player who has shared a dressing room with Sebastien Squillaci tends to use the word ‘combative’ when describing the French central defender. Motivated and focused, he represents a significant obstacle to opposing strikers, while posing a considerable attacking threat himself from free kicks.
Squillaci’s breakthrough came at Monaco, but not before he had been farmed out on loan to Ajaccio in Corsica, where he toiled to great effect for two years, before returning to Stade Louis II in 2002. Once back, he formed a formidable defensive partnership with Gael Givet that would provide the foundations for Monaco’s fine European run in 2003/04. Under the charge of Didier Deschamps, the principality club reached the UEFA Champions League final, beating Real Madrid and Chelsea on the way. Simultaneously, the same central pairing began to establish itself and enjoy the same success in the French national team, following on from the ‘first’ retirement of Lilian Thuram.
In 2006, Squillaci moved to Lyon, adding two league titles and a French Cup to his list of achievements. One of the first names on the teamsheet for two seasons, his excellent understanding with Brazilian team-mate Cris, combined with his astute positioning and strong heading ability, turned Lyon’s defence into one of the best in Europe. This successful period with Les Gones re-opened the doors of the international team to him, having previously lost his place in the wake of Lilian Thuram’s decision to come out of retirement, thereby missing out on the FIFA World Cup™ in 2006. Toto Squillaci has since signed for Sevilla in La Liga, where he has forged yet another effective partnership, this time with compatriot Julien Escude, a shared experience that could prove extremely useful in South Africa.