Premier League: Diouf attacks 'egomaniac' Gerrard

Former Liverpool winger El-Hadji Diouf has launched an astonishing attack on captain Steven Gerrard, accusing him of being an "egomaniac" who "would rather score than the team won".

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Premier League: Diouf attacks 'egomaniac' Gerrard
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Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard (right) and El-Hadji Diouf, then of Blackburn, during a Premier League match in 2010

Diouf, a renowned motormouth who is largely reviled in England, played for the Reds between 2002-04, during which he only managed six goals in 79 matches.

The Senegal international, currently at Championship side Leeds United, is regarded as an outspoken character with violent tendencies – but he reckons Liverpool’s real problem is skipper and hometown hero Gerrard, who has criticised Diouf in the past for only being interested in himself.

"What he said in his autobiography was nonsense," Diouf told L’Equipe. "It’s him who is self-obsessed. I carried Senegal to the 2002 World Cup quarter-finals, on my own.

"I was listed in the top 100 players in the world by Pele after that World Cup. He wasn’t. He was jealous of me back then because I had the world at my feet.

"I respect (Gerrard) as a footballer, but there is no greater egomaniac than him. He doesn’t give a damn about anyone else. He would rather Liverpool lost and he scored.

"I have spoken with the old guys at Liverpool and nobody can stand him! And don’t get me started on Jamie Carragher..."

Diouf’s words will no doubt rile Liverpool’s faithful, but it is not the first time he has upset supporters in Britain.

The former Lens, Bolton and Blackburn forward angered Queens Park Rangers after his reaction when Jamie Mackie suffered a broken leg, leading then Hoops boss Neil Warnock - now Diouf's manager at Leeds - to call him a "sewer rat".

Celtic fans were furious after a spitting incident involving a young supporter, Everton demanded he retract claims of racial abuse that were shown to be misplaced, while his own country banned him after repeated fall-outs with national team management.

All this has led to a bad-boy reputation – which remarkably Diouf feels is a good thing.

"I’m an easy going guy. I don’t care what people say. While I regret hurting people, I can deal with being called a bad boy.

"People have a go at me for partying. But I still play well. Others stay in and are rubbish. They should try drinking and partying and playing well.

"I’ve never been to prison, never assaulted anyone on the pitch. Actually, that tag doesn’t annoy me, I like that people talk about me, good or bad.

"I make my mark wherever I go."

Despite his denials of being an egomaniac himself, a seemingly unaware Diouf followed the traditional line of the self-obsessed footballer by talking up his own ability while referring to himself in the third person.

"Back in Senegal, I am a demi-god. People burned tyres simply because I wasn’t picked for a play-off match against Ivory Coast.

"If El-Hadji Diouf takes Leeds up to the Premier League, he will become unforgettable in England."

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