Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

El-Hadji Diouf in scathing verbal attack on Steven Gerrard on the day the former Liverpool captain retired

Gerrard announces his retirement on Thursday but Diouf decided to launch another fierce attack on his former teammate and claimed 'he was afraid to look in my eyes'

Published 25/11/2016

El-Hadji Diouf
El-Hadji Diouf
El-Hadji Diouf
El-Hadji Diouf
El Hadji Diouf v Liverpool fans
In 2003, Diouf was involved in an infamous spit spat when he spat at Celtic fans during a Uefa Cup tie at Parkhead. The Senegalese international reacted after the fan appeared to strike him after a tackle sent him tumbling over the touchline. A year later, Diouf was at it again when he spat at Portsmouth skipper Arjan de Zeeuw during his time at Blackburn. He's also faced numerous other accusations from fans that he's sent phlegm in their direction.

El-Hadji Diouf has reignited his war of words with Steven Gerrard on the day that the former Liverpool and England captain announced his retirement from football, with the retired Senegal striker embarking on a bizarre rant on French TV and arguing with former Arsenal midfielder Emmanuel Petit.

Diouf, who has been incredibly vocal and bitter in his criticism of Gerrard while he was at Anfield, claimed the 36-year-old was “nothing at all” when he arrived at the club in 2002, and also hit out at their former teammate Jamie Carragher.

Steven Gerrard.hopes to make an announcement soon about his post-retirement plans.
Steven Gerrard.hopes to make an announcement soon about his post-retirement plans.

Diouf remains the only Liverpool No 9 in the club’s history to go the entire season without scoring a goal, but he claimed that Gerrard “was afraid of looking into my eyes” and added that while he respected him as a player, he does not like him as a person.

People told me at Liverpool, there was some guys you could not touch, but I touched them. That is why it was complicated for me,” Diouf said on French TV channel SFR Sport.

“When I arrived I showed him he was nothing at all. He was nothing at all.

“I asked him to tell me in which big competition, Euros or World Cup, people think about him.”

World Cup winner Petit, who was sitting alongside Diouf, interjected at this point to ask if he was talking specifically about Gerrard, to with Diouf replied: “I do. Stevie G and Jamie Carragher, the two scousers.”

Petit attempted to defend Gerrard by noting the 2005 Champions League final, in which he inspired an amazing turnaround that saw Liverpool draw level with AC Milan after trailing 3-0 at half-time in Istanbul before triumphing on penalties. But when Petit couldn’t remember which year it was, Diouf continued his verbal attack.

Read more: The most notorious spitters in football  

“Here is the proof, even you cannot remember,” he said.

Steven Gerrard's swansong with LA Galaxy in the United States
Steven Gerrard's swansong with LA Galaxy in the United States

“You are talking about Euros and World Cup. Today I owe you respect [Petit], I owe respect to Mr Zidane because you did win the World Cup.”

Petit again interrupted, adding: “I cannot let you say that about Steven Gerrard, he was an immense player.”

Diouf explained that while he respected Gerrard for his performances on the pitch, he disliked him for the man he was off it. Gerrard and Diouf clashed soon after the Senegalese left Liverpool in 2004 when he was playing for Blackburn Rovers, and the former England skipper also spoke about Diouf in his 2015 autobiography in which he said he did believed Diouf “did not care about football and about Liverpool”.

Diouf said: “I repeat. I respect the player, very big player, but the man, I do not respect. And I told him, I let him know that.

“With all my respect I let him know. For me in Liverpool, he was not just a player like anyone else. He had to work and play his football as I had to work and play my football.

“Then as you know, there were some brown-nosers, who went to the manager to repeat what I said. That was the real problem. When Gerrard did that, we had an argument, like real men.

Impact: Steven Gerrard has called time on a glittering career that delivered many highlights, including an odds defying Champions League success
Impact: Steven Gerrard has called time on a glittering career that delivered many highlights, including an odds defying Champions League success

“That is why he does not like me. He knows I say what I think, that when it is not right, no problem, I am up for it.

“He could not, he was afraid of looking into my eyes. He was afraid of talking to me. Let's not forget when I arrived I did not ask for his shirt. He asked for my Senegal shirt for one of his mates.”

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has pledged to help Steven Gerrard, pictured, as he embarks on a new career
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has pledged to help Steven Gerrard, pictured, as he embarks on a new career
Steven Gerrard, arguably the most influential English player of his generation.
Steven Gerrard, arguably the most influential English player of his generation.
In 2003 while playing for Liverpool El Hadji Diouf spat at Celtic fans and a year later was at it again when he spat at Portsmouth skipper Arjan de Zeeuw during his time at Blackburn. He's also faced numerous other accusations from fans that he's sent a loogie in their direction.
In 2003 while playing for Liverpool El Hadji Diouf spat at Celtic fans and a year later was at it again when he spat at Portsmouth skipper Arjan de Zeeuw during his time at Blackburn. He's also faced numerous other accusations from fans that he's sent a loogie in their direction.

Online Editors

Your Comments

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Read More

From Belfast Telegraph