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El-Hadji Diouf: 'Nobody can stand Steven Gerrard at Liverpool'

  • @simonrice

El-Hadji Diouf has launched a stinging attack on Steven Gerrard, a player he failed to see eye-to-eye with when the pair played together at Liverpool.

Diouf, speaking to French sports daily L'Equipe, labelled the England captain "egotistical" and said "nobody can stand him" at Liverpool.

Diouf is currently enjoying a resurgence in form at Championship side Leeds United but between 2002 and 2004 played alongside Gerrard for Liverpool.

After Diouf left for Bolton Wanderers, Gerrard questioned the Senegal international's commitment during his time at Anfield.

"I wasn't Diouf's number one fan," wrote the Liverpool captain in his 2007 autobiography.

"Being around Melwood and Anfield I knew which players were hungry, which players had Liverpool at heart. Diouf was just interested in himself.

"His attitude was all wrong. I felt he wasn't really a***d about putting his body on the line to get Liverpool back at the top."

Diouf, who was signed by Gérard Houllier for £10m, has now hit back at Gerrard's remarks.

"What he said is only of interest to him.

"All I worried about was the Senegal team, I took them to the World Cup quarter-finals in 2002.

"I was in Pele's 100 players of the century. Not him.

"I respect him as a footballer, but there is nobody more egotistical than him."

Diouf also said Gerrard, who has been at Liverpool his entire career and captained them to a Champions League title in 2005, was not a popular figure at Anfield.

"He does not care about others. I spoke to the major figures at Liverpool and nobody can stand him. And I am not talking about (Jamie) Carragher."

Diouf took the opportunity to defend his own actions over a career littered with controversial moments, including spitting incidents and accusations that he taunted Jamie Mackie as the QPR forward lay on the ground with a broken leg. The latter incident led to his current manager at Leeds, Neil Warnock, comparing Diouf to a sewer rat.

Diouf said: "I have done things but others have done worse. I am an easy target, people talk about me no matter what.

"Okay, I have hurt people and I regret that. But I have never been to prison, I have never injured anyone on the pitch.

"After people gave me the 'bad-boy' image, I had to deal with it. Bad boy? It makes me laugh.

"It doesn't bother me. I prefer that people talk about me, whether good or bad. I leave my mark wherever I go."