Kalifa Cissé (born 9 January 1984) is a Malian professional footballer who plays for BEC Tero Sasana as a defensive midfielder or centre-half.
Born in Dreux, France, Cissé started his career as a trainee at French club Toulouse, and moved on to Portuguese Primeira Liga side Estoril. He made only six league appearances and the club was relegated at the end of the season but he caught the attention of Boavista, for whom he signed in 2005.
His performances in the top division of Portuguese football alerted Reading to his potential and on 16 May 2007, he sealed a move on a three-year contract, for a fee of just under €1 million.
He made his Premier League debut for Reading against Chelsea on 15 August and was sent off in the 72nd minute for a second bookable offence. He scored his first Reading goal on 29 December 2007 in a 6–4 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur.
In his second season at Reading, Cissé became a fan favourite. In the Championship, he scored a crucial goal against eventual champions Wolves as well as a goal that was voted the club’s best of the season against Bristol City.
He was used more sparingly in his third season at the club, making only nineteen league and cup appearances. He scored once, in a 2–0 win at Sheffield Wednesday on 5 December 2009.
In July 2010, Cissé joined Bristol City on a two-year deal for an undisclosed fee. The move brought him into contact once again with City manager Steve Coppell, who signed Cissé for Reading.
Cissé signed with the New England Revolution of Major League Soccer in the United States ahead of the 2013 MLS season. On 6 August 2013, wanting to return to England, Cissé mutually terminated his contract with New England Revolution.
Cissé went on trial with Birmingham City in August 2013. After refusing a contract from the club, he went on trial at Championship side Derby County in October 2013. He played the full 90 minutes of a 2–1 under-21s match defeat against Huddersfield Town on 4 November and 5 days later, he signed for the club on a non-contract basis.
The same day, he made his league debut for the club against Sheffield Wednesday. He played instead of the suspended John Eustace, having received international clearance the previous evening. The Rams ran out 3–0 winners and head coach Steve McClaren praised his performance. On 18 November, he signed a two-month contract as a reward for his performance. First-team coach Paul Simpson said that the short-term contract was an incentive for Cissé to impress Derby or any other club who might be interested, should his deal not be extended. He missed the club’s next match against Bournemouth on 23 November after collapsing shortly after the match against Sheffield Wednesday. He was rushed to hospital and treated for an infected toe.
Although born in France, Cissé played for the Mali U20 team in the 2003 FIFA World Youth Championship, his debut coming v Argentina.
He received his first call up to the Mali senior team on 20 March 2008 for the 2010 World Cup Qualifier v Sudan, which he won 3–0.
Cissé also appeared against Liberia on 9 October 2010, in an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier, as well as in friendlies against Congo (17 November 2010), Ivory Coast (8 February 2011) and Tunisia (10 August 2011).