Ex Liverpool player and former African player of the year El Hadji Diouf has once again blasted Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard, after Gerrard announced his decision to retire from football on Thursday after spending the last season at the American Major League Soccer.
Diouf and Gerrard were teammates at Liverpool for two seasons after then coach Gerard Houllier brought him to Anfield for £10m in June 2002, but never clicked for once, with Diouf accusing Gerrard previously of being racist.
Speaking on French TV channel SFR Sport, the 35-year-old said:
‘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.’
Former Arsenal and Chelsea midfielder Emmanuel Petit, a fellow guest on the programme ‘La Vestiaire’, asked:
‘Are you talking about Steven Gerrard?’
‘I do. Stevie G and Jamie Carragher, the two scousers. 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.’
As Petit struggled to recall the year Liverpool won the Champions League final, Diouf interjected:
‘Here is the proof, even you cannot remember.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 interjected Diouf:
‘I cannot let you say that about Steven Gerrard, he was an immense player.’
But Diouf maintained he respected Gerrard as a player not a person.
‘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.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.’