Steven Gerrard’s lawyers have dismissed allegations made by El Hadji Diouf that the ex-Liverpool captain “has never liked black people”.
Diouf made the claim on Senegalese radio station RFM in response to Gerrard’s stinging criticism of his former Anfield team-mate in his forthcoming autobiography, which is released later this month.
In remarks reported on the website of Groupe Futurs Medias, the parent company of RFM, Diouf said: “It’s common knowledge. Gerrard has never liked black people. When I was at Liverpool, I showed him I was black, that I wasn’t English, but that I’m no pushover. All the time I was there, he never dared looked me in the eye.”
Lawyers acting for Gerrard denied the allegations, telling the Daily Mail: “The allegations in those alleged statements are completely false and seriously defamatory of our client.”
Diouf also claimed Gerrard, who now plays for LA Galaxy, was jealous of his success and is disliked outside Merseyside.
He added: “He hasn’t achieved what I have in football. When I came to Liverpool, I came with the status of a big boss and he just lived there.
“I am respected in world football, the greatest football experts have appointed me among the seven best players in the World Cup, the top 100 players of the century.
“Several big players do not belong. Everywhere I go out of my country, they worship me, everywhere he [Gerrard] goes outside Liverpool he is disliked.”
The pair have clashed in the media before but the row was reignited when, in his book ‘My Story’, Gerrard said: “It seemed to me that Diouf had no real interest in football and that he cared nothing about Liverpool. For example, the way he spat a huge globule of gunky phlegm at a Celtic fan in a UEFA Cup match at Parkhead in March 2003 summed up his contemptuous and spiteful demeanour.
“A few people have since asked me if I saw any comparison between Diouf and Mario Balotelli – and I’ve always said no. I’ve got respect for Balotelli; I’ve got none for Diouf.
“After a while I decided Diouf simply wasn’t your usual footballer. It seemed to me as if football got in the way of his social life.”