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Oct 19, 2012

Diouf: Gerrard is 'egotistical'

Leeds striker El-Hadji Diouf has hit out at former Liverpool team-mate Steven Gerrard, labelling him "egotistical''.

Diouf, 31, played alongside Gerrard, 32, for three seasons before departing for Bolton Wanderers in 2005.

And the Liverpool captain did not take a liking to the Senegal international, criticising his attitude and work rate in his 2007 autobiography.

"I wasn't Diouf's number one fan," Gerrard wrote. "Being around Melwood and Anfield I knew which players were hungry, which players had Liverpool at heart. Diouf was just interested in himself.

"His attitude was all wrong. I felt he wasn't really a***d about putting his body on the line to get Liverpool back at the top.''

However, Diouf has now hit back at Gerrard five years down the line, claiming that the England international has his own detractors at the club.

"What he said is only of interest to him," he told L'Equipe. "All I was worried about was the Senegal team, I took them to the World Cup quarter-finals in 2002.

"I was in Pele's 100 players of the century. Not him.

"I respect him as a footballer, but there is nobody more egotistical than him.

"He does not care about others. I spoke to the major figures at Liverpool and nobody can stand him. And I am not talking about (Jamie) Carragher.''

Diouf's career in England, that has seen him move along to Sunderland, Blackburn, Rangers, Doncaster and now Leeds, has been plagued by controversy.

He was embroiled in a series of spitting controversies while at both Liverpool and Bolton, while his time with Blackburn saw him accused of taunting Queens Park Rangers' Jamie Mackie as he lay on the ground with a broken leg.

The latter incident saw then QPR boss Neil Warnock, now Diouf's manager at Elland Road, infamously compare the player to a rat.

Yet Diouf feels he has been treated unfairly during his time in England and has defended himself against the 'bad-boy' image he has been given.

"I have done things but others have done worse. I am an easy target, people talk about me no matter what," Diouf said. "Okay, I have hurt people and I regret that. But I have never been to prison, I have never injured anyone on the pitch.

"After people gave me the 'bad-boy' image, I had to deal with it. Bad boy? It makes me laugh. It doesn't bother me. I prefer that people talk about me, whether good or bad. I leave my mark wherever I go.''

Information from the Press Association was used in this report

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