Mahamadou Diarra relishing Fulham opportunity
Wednesday 29 February 2012
New signing Mahamadou Diarra 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 Cottagers earlier this week, penning a deal until the end of the season with an option of extending it by a further year.
Diarra, who once cost a reported £22m, has been without a club since leaving Monaco last summer and is hoping to resurrect his career in the Barclays Premier League.
"It has been a great pleasure to be here with the team for about a week now," he told the club's website, fulhamfc.com.
"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 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 comes to the west London club boasting an impressive CV, having won league titles in both Spain and France.
The Mali international began his senior career with Greek side OFI Crete, before moving to Holland to play for Vitesse Arnhem and then onto Lyon.
Diarra won four successive Ligue 1 title while with Les Gones, before moving to Real Madrid for a reported £22m.
He spent four and a half years at the Bernabeu, where he collected two Primera 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 principality club them from slipping out of Ligue 1, but Diarra is keen to prove he can still cut it at the top level.
"I consider the 12 remaining matches as 12 finals for me," he added.
"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."
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