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U20 World Cup
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By ESPN Staff

Hoeness stunned at Diarra's rise to prominence

Bayern Munich general manager Uli Hoeness has labelled Bordeaux midfielder Alou Diarra the "seventh wonder of the world'' ahead of the two side's clash in the Champions League on Wednesday.

Diarra started his playing career with Bayern, but in two years with the club, he was never able to make the breakthrough into the first team.

He made a total of 41 appearances for the club's reserves before moving on to Liverpool, where he also failed to make the grade.

However, he is now Bordeaux's captain and has broken into the France national team, much to Hoeness' amazement.

"If somebody had told me this five years ago and bet on it with me, I would have lost a fortune,'' he told the Bild newspaper.

"For me, that is like the seventh wonder of the world that he is captain of this team and even plays for the national team.''

As part of Bayern's second string, Diarra played alongside Philipp Lahm, a man who did make the breakthrough into the first team, and the Germany international is equally surprised to be coming up against him on Europe's highest stage.

He said: "He was always a big player with a good pass and he was strong in the air, but you couldn't really know if he was going to make it so far.''

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