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Is a title challenge possible for Man Utd?

Manchester United
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Diouf: I admire my friend Gaddafi

El-Hadji Diouf's virtually unrivalled capacity to attract controversy has once again been demonstrated by his declaration that he admires Colonel Gaddafi.

Diouf, currently on loan at Rangers from Blackburn Rovers, has reportedly told an African magazine that he is friends with the Libyan dictator, who is currently attempting to quell a rebellion that has received the backing of Nato.

Despite outrage over the violence employed by Gaddafi to repress pro-democracy protestors, and widespread condemnation of his rule from across the international community, Diouf says he has sympathy for the man known as 'Mad Dog'.

"Gaddafi is a man who I have always admired," Diouf is quoted in the Daily Mail. "I am telling the truth. I know him, and I know his son Saif as well. They are my friends.

"I do not honestly know what is really happening in Libya at the moment, but it must be very hard for Gaddafi and his family.

"I cannot remain far away from what is happening in Libya. I do not know who is in the right and who is wrong, but it is a shame to see so many victims."

Since moving to Rangers in January, Diouf has been involved in heated confrontations with Celtic, but he may also now incur the anger of his own manager Walter Smith after saying that defender Madjid Bougherra should leave the club.

Diouf said of his colleague: "Madjid needs a new challenge at the end of the season and he has to go to the Premier League and nowhere else."

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