Diarra has '12 finals' to earn permanent Fulham deal

 

Mahamadou Diarra has said that he is excited by Fulham's ambition and is looking forward to proving his worth in west London. The 30-year-old former Real Madrid midfielder joined the club earlier this week on a deal until the end of the season, with an option of extending by a year.

Diarra, who once commanded a reported transfer fee of £22m, has been without a club since leaving Monaco last summer and the Malian is now hoping to resurrect his career in the Premier League.

"It has been a great pleasure to be here with the team for about a week now," he said. "I loved my first week of training here. It went really well and everyone was smiling and welcomed me with open arms. I really felt welcomed at my new club. There is a feeling that people are happy for me to be here and I am certainly happy to have signed for Fulham. Fulham is open to players who like to play football, who give their best and who have a winning mentality.

"The club is ambitious and that was made clear to me by the hierarchy here. By speaking to the manager [Martin Jol] it is also clear that he wants the team to progress and move in the right direction and this made me want to sign straight away."

Diarra has an impressive CV, having won league titles in Spain and France. The Mali international began his senior career with OFI Crete, before moving to the Netherlands to play for Vitesse Arnhem and to France to play for Lyons.

Diarra won four successive Ligue 1 titles before moving to Real Madrid for a reported £22m. He spent four and a half years at the Bernabeu, winning two La Liga titles, one Copa del Rey and one Super Cup. Things did not go quite as well at Monaco, as he failed to stop the club from slipping out of Ligue 1.

"I consider the 12 remaining matches as 12 finals for me," he said. "It's up to me now to prove that I can do well and satisfy the team with good performances on the pitch. I have seen the team play and I am aware of how the players play and I find myself amongst a good and talented group. For me, this is going to be a big challenge and an enormous adventure."

Fulham's opponents on Sunday are Wolves, whose caretaker manager, Terry Connor, has defended his decision to leave the captain, Roger Johnson, out of the starting line-up for the 2-2 draw with Newcastle last weekend, Connor's first game since temporarily replacing the sacked Mick McCarthy.

The move was Connor's response to the 5-1 derby defeat by West Bromwich Albion which cost McCarthy his job, and the new man has praised the defender's response. "I didn't want to do it but I thought it was the right decision," Connor said. "I'm not blaming Roger for us losing to West Brom but most people would agree you couldn't keep the same team and subs when you've lost 5-1. But Roger took it very well, took it on the chin. He supported the lads and did everything I'd expect of him as captain of the team. That's what you have to do. He will want to be in the next team, so he has to be a good pro. Being captain doesn't mean that you have to play in every game."

Johnson, who was dropped by McCarthy for a home game with Sunderland in December, has struggled for form since his summer move from Birmingham.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Syria civil war: Meet the military commander who says his soldiers will not rest until every inch of their war torn country is free of Islamist 'terrorists'

‘We won’t stop until Syria is back to normal’

Near the front lines with Islamist-controlled towns where Assad’s troops were besieged just last month, Robert Fisk meets a commander confidently preparing his soldiers for battle
The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation may undermine Hillary's chances

The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation...

... and how it may undermine Hillary's chances in 2016
12 best olive oils

Extra-virgin, cold-press, early-harvest, ultra-premium: 12 best olive oils

Choosing an olive oil is a surprising minefield. Save yourself the hassle with our handy guide
Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back