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"Serial Killer" Diouf aims to finish career in Malaysia

BeSoccer by BeSoccer @besoccer_com - 0 550

Pin El Hadji Dioufs reputation for footwork and tantrums is well known, but after glory at the World Cup and in Englands Premier League, picture shows him (C) playing for Leeds, the veteran striker now wants political success in his native Senegal
El Hadji Dioufs reputation for footwork and tantrums is well known, but after glory at the World Cup and in Englands Premier League, picture shows him (C) playing for Leeds, the veteran striker now wants political success in his native Senegal

"Serial Killer" Diouf aims to finish career in Malaysia

BeSoccer by BeSoccer @besoccer_com - 0 550

El Hadji Diouf's reputation for sublime footwork and turbulent tantrums is known around the globe, but after glory at the World Cup and in England's Premier League the veteran striker now wants political success in his native Senegal.

The 34-year-old, who made his name in the Senegal side that beat World Cup holders France in the opening game of the 2002 tournament in South Korea, is now close to the end of his career with Sabah FC in Malaysia's second division.

Diouf's globetrotting saw him play with Sochaux, Rennes and Lens in France, before a roller-coaster decade in England and Scotland with Liverpool, Bolton, Sunderland, Blackburn, Glasgow Rangers, Doncaster Rovers and Leeds United.

No one in football disputes that he is a passionate and frequently kind player, always happy to talk to fans and journalists.

But Diouf -- who picked up the nickname "Serial Killer" -- has also been a divisive figure.

A number of incidents of spitting at opposing players and fans clouded his achievements on the ball.

Diouf told AFP in an interview in Kuala Lumpur that he considered reaching the quarter finals of the 2002 World Cup as the high point of his football life.

"All good Muslims dream of going to Mecca and any good footballer dreams of the World Cup," he said. "Ryan Giggs and Eric Cantona were greats but that is missing from their records."

- Father figures -

His temper outbursts may be among the regrets. "That is also what got me known," he admitted. "If people liked me it is because I was a fighter on the pitch.

"And as my 'father' Bruno Metsu always said 'Anyone can play football, but in football it is men who win matches'."

Metsu is one of many 'fathers' in Diouf's life. The much-travelled French coach -- who guided Senegal as well as Guinea, Qatar, United Arab Emirates and a host of clubs -- tragically died of cancer in 2013.

His real father is Boubacar Diallo, an attacker who went from Senegal to France and then played with Benfica in Portugal. "My only regret is that I never saw him play," said Diouf.

"Bruno was my real father, he was the most important," said the player. "There has not been a more emotional moment in my life than Bruno's funeral," said Diouf before a long pause.

Metsu had converted to Islam and wanted to be buried in Senegal. "With his son, I followed the coffin to the plane which took him to Senegal. Now he is at home."

Diouf also pays tribute to Rolland Courbis the coach who brought him to Lens in France, a club which had earlier told him he was not good enough for their academy.

After a 2001-2002 season in which he scored 10 goals as Lens finished second in the French league and then he starred at the World Cup, Diouf became a major draw.

"Every club wanted me: Manchester United, Barcelona, Real Madrid," he said. He chose Liverpool because their coach Gerard Houllier was French.

"That counted for me and I do not regret my choice," he said. But at Liverpool as the other clubs there were highs and lows.

- Political future -

Two goals on his debut against Southampton promised a lot, but spitting incidents and driving offences grated with the Liverpool management.

In 2005, Diouf started four seasons at Bolton Wanderers under Sam Allardyce where he really made his name in English football.

"I loved playing with great players like Jay-Jay Okocha, Fernando Hierro, Vincent Candela, Nicholas Anelka.

"Big Sam gave us orders, but Jay-Jay told us 'play as you want to'. We played the most beautiful football in England and finished sixth two years running."

After that Diouf became a traveller, amazing fans and then annoying them with his football and his temper. In Kuala Lumpur, Diouf attended celebrations for Mamadou Diagna Ndiaye, a former head of the Senegal football federation who joined the International Olympic Committee on Monday.

He sees a future for himself in sports politics. "I want to become a businessman after football and I think politician as well. I don't want others to take charge of my life."

Diouf is already a goodwill ambassador for the Senegalese government, with his own charitable foundation, and is close to several Senegalese politicians. 

"I want to change things in African sport, why not become a sports minister."

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