El-Hadji Diouf has reignited his war of words with Steven Gerrard, following the Liverpool legend’s retirement on Thursday, declaring: “He was nothing”.
Ex-England international Gerrard, now 36, called time on his illustrious playing career, following his 18-month sojourn with LA Galaxy.
Tributes have poured in to the Anfield icon, who led the Reds to their fifth European Cup success in 2005.
However, Diouf has not joined those hailing Gerrard, a player he has previously called an ‘egotist’ and accused of racism.
The pair spent two years as teammates at Anfield following Diouf’s £10million arrival in June 2002, signed by Gerard Houllier, but Diouf struggled on Merseyside and Gerrard wrote in his 2015 autobiography that the Senegalese “did not care about football and about Liverpool.”
Diouf, now 35, speaking on French television, has now declared that “the man, I do not respect.”
He told French TV channel SFR Sport: “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 midfielder Emmanuel Petit, alongside Diouf on TV show ‘La Vestiare’ questions: “Are you talking about Steven Gerrard?”
Diouf responded: “I do. Stevie G and Jamie Carragher, the two scousers.”
Asked about Gerrard’s autobiography comment, Diouf responded: “He was right, I am not a scouser. I did not come to Liverpool to buy a house and live there in the future.”
Then, he advances his criticism of the ex-Liverpool skipper.
“When I arrived I showed him he was nothing at all,” said Diouf. “He was nothing at all.
“I asked him to tell me in which big competition, Euros or World Cup, people think about him.”
As World Cup winner Petit struggled to recall Liverpool’s 2005 Champions League success, Diouf exclaimed: “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 fires back, hailing Gerrard as “an immense player”, but Diouf counters, declaring that his issues with Gerrard are with the man, not Gerrard the player.
“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.”
Diouf also revealed that he owes a debt of gratitude to his former Lens coach Roland Courbis, who convinced Gerard Houllier to take a chance on the Senegalese forward.
“If I signed to Liverpool, it is thanks to him. I had not played the World Cup or AFCON [African Cup of Nations] yet.
“Roland said to Gerard, ‘there is a kid you could be interested in, sign him, sign El Hadji Diouf.
“Gerard came to see me in Lens, to talk to me, and then I started to dream.”