Steven Gerrard has denied alleged claims of racism reportedly made by former Liverpool team-mate El-Hadji Diouf.
In an extract from his upcoming autobiography My Story, serialised by the Daily Mail, Gerrard criticises the Senegalese player for having "no real interest in football" and being the signing he "liked least" during his 17 years at the club.
In retaliation, Diouf has been reported to have responded to Gerrard's words on Senegalese radio station Groupe Futurs Medias, with translated quotes attributed to the striker stating that "Gerrard has never liked black people".
Gerrard's lawyers have moved to deny any claims he is racist.
In his latest book, Gerrard, who has publicised his low opinion of Diouf before, criticised his former team-mate's attitude and professionalism.
“I don’t really want to waste time thinking about El Hadji Diouf but it’s worth highlighting his wasted seasons at Liverpool as an example of how it can all go wrong,” he writes.
"It seemed to me that Diouf had no real interest in football and that he cared nothing about Liverpool," he continued. "For example, the way he spat a huge globule of gunky phlegm at a Celtic fan in a Uefa Cup match at Parkhead in March 2003 summed up his contemptuous and spiteful demeanour."
Diouf proved to be controversial figure during his time at Anfield, with his most notorious night coming at Celtic Park. The Senegalese forward was interviewed by police after the spitting incident and fined two weeks wages by his club, with the £60,000 amount being donated to a charity of Celtic's choice.
In his previous autobiography, published in 2007, Gerrard described Diouf as a lazy and self-interested character.
"His attitude was all wrong," Gerrard wrote at the time. "I felt he wasn't really a***d about putting his body on the line to get Liverpool back at the top."
Diouf, who now plays at Malaysian club Sabah, has also criticised Gerrard publicly in the past, as well as attacking Gerrard's long-standing friend and team-mate Jamie Carragher.
In 2012, Diouf called Gerrard 'egotistical' and claimed that nobody at Anfield likes player who led his side to Champions League victory in 2005.
Diouf is also quoted as saying that Gerrard is "jealous".
He said: "Gerrard is just jealous of me. He hasn't achieved what I have done in football.
"When I came to Liverpool, I came up with the status of boss and he lives there.
"I am respected in world football, the greatest football experts have appointed me among the seven best players in the World Cup, the top 100 players of the century.
"Several big players do not belong. Everywhere I go out of my country, they worship me - while Gerrard will get abuse whenever he leaves his home city of Liverpool."
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