Association football player
29 November 1990, Étampes, France
Yacouba Sylla (born 29 November 1990) is a professional footballer who plays as a midfielder for CFR Cluj and the Mali national football team, having represented France as a youth international.
Prior to joining Clermont Foot where Sylla signed his first professional contract he had a year’s stint with Ligue 1 club Stade Malherbe Caen. Before that, Sylla had started his career with hometown Parisian club Étampes FC before joining nearby club CSF Brétigny, which produced France internationals Patrice Evra and Jimmy Briand. After four years in Brétigny, Sylla spent the next four years roaming around clubs in the Lower Normandy region such as AS Montferrand, SC Malesherbes, and Caen. And then in 2009, he signed an amateur contract with Clermont where he was inserted into Clermont’s reserve team for the 2009–10 season. He appeared in 17 matches scoring one goal.
For the 2010–11 season, Sylla was promoted to the senior team by manager Michel Der Zakarian. He made his professional debut on 15 October 2010 in a league match against Le Mans playing the entire match in a 2–0 defeat. Sylla subsequently appeared as a starter in the team’s next seven matches. His performances domestically led to interest from German club VfB Stuttgart and Italian club Udinese. In order to decrease the interest Clermont signed Sylla to his first professional contract, which ran from 22 November 2010 until June 2014.
On 31 January 2013, Aston Villa completed the signing of Sylla on a three-and-a-half-year deal, subject to international clearance, after passing a medical.
Kayseri Erciyesspor (loan)
On 14 July 2014, Sylla joined Turkish Super Lig club Kayseri Erciyesspor on a season-long loan.
On 22 June 2015, Sylla joined Rennes on a four-year deal, after two years at Aston Villa where he made only 22 league appearances.
On 30 August 2017, Panathinaikos officially announced the signing of Malian international defensive midfielder Yacouba Sylla. He joined the Greens on loan from Rennes until the end of 2017–18 season and was the 10th summer signing of the Athens club.
On 17 January 2018, Sylla signed a contract with YR KV Mechelen until 2021. He leaves Rennes after having been on loan at Panathinaikos since the end of August.
On 1 March 2019, Sylla signed a contract until the end of the 2020 season with Norwegian club Strømsgodset Toppfotball. On 19 May, Sylla scored his first and only goal for the Norwegians, in a 3–1 win against Tromsø IL.
On 1 July, he signed a three-year contract with CFR Cluj, Romanian champions.
Sylla was born in France but has Malian heritage, which meant that he was eligible to represent either France or Mali. He made one appearance for France’s under-21 team on 24 March 2011, in a 3–2 friendly victory over Spain. Sylla was a late substitute for Antoine Griezmann and played the final few minutes of the game.
Following his move to Aston Villa and positive form towards the end to the 2012–13 season, Sylla was called up to represent Mali for the first time. He first played in an unofficial friendly against the national team of Brittany, France, a side not affiliated with FIFA or UEFA on 28 May 2013. Mali lost 1–0.
Sylla’s official, full international début for Mali came on 9 June 2012 in a 1–1 FIFA World Cup qualification draw with Rwanda. Sylla replaced Wolverhampton Wanderers player Tongo Doumbia in the 70th minute. Sylla started and played the full 90 minutes in Mali’s 2–2 draw with Benin seven days later, but Mali were unfortunately eliminated from the competition.
Sylla is the older brother of the France youth international Moussa Sylla.
- As of match played 31 March 2020
|Aston Villa||2012–13||Premier League||11||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||11||0|
|Kayseri Erciyesspor||2014–15||Süper Lig||27||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||27||1|
|KV Mechelen||2017–18||Jupiler Pro League||9||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||9||0|
|CFR Cluj||2019-20||Liga I||4||0||0||0||0||0||1||0||5||0|
- As of matches played on 17 July 2019
|Mali national team|