Former Fulham boss Chris Coleman pays emotional tribute following the ‘truly sad loss’ of Papa Bouba Diop at the age of 42, admitting he was ‘one of my favourite players I’ve worked with’
Former Fulham manager Chris Coleman has paid an emotional tribute to Papa Bouba Diop after he passed away following a long illness at the age of 42.
Former Senegal international Diop, who featured for Fulham and Portsmouth, played 129 matches in the Premier League.
And following the tragic news of his death, ex-Fulham boss Coleman, who brought Diop to English football from French club Lens in 2004, led the tributes.
The football world is mourning the death of former Senegal international Papa Bouba Diop
Coleman paid tribute to Diop, saying he was ‘one of my favourite players I’ve worked with’
Coleman told the Sun: ‘I’m gutted to hear the news. It’s so sad.
‘Papa was one of my favourite players I’ve worked with. He did a great job for me at Fulham but, more importantly, he was a lovely person.
‘He had time for everyone and treated people with respect. It’s truly a sad loss.’
The former defensive midfielder played 82 times for Fulham between 2004 and 2007, scoring nine goals and producing two assists.
After his time at Craven Cottage – where he enjoyed a brilliant relationship with the Fulham fans, earning the nickname ‘Wardrobe’ due to his 6ft 5in frame – Diop joined Portsmouth where he made another 72 appearances.
Diop was part of the Portsmouth side that won 2008 FA Cup after coming on as a sub in final
Diop was also a member of Pompey’s triumphant 2008 FA Cup side, being introduced by manager Harry Redknapp as a late substitute in the 1-0 final victory over Cardiff City.
He would then go on to feature for both West Ham and Birmingham City after a brief stint away from England with AEK Athens.
Diop was also one of the heroes of Senegal’s memorable run to the 2002 World Cup quarter-finals, scoring the only goal in a shock 1-0 victory over holders France in their opening game.
Diop scored the winner in a famous 1-0 win for Senegal against France at the 2002 World Cup
FIFA confirmed the news on Sunday evening of Diop’s death after several reports had emerged, although further details of his passing are not yet clear.
Tributes immediately poured in for Diop, with former club Fulham tweeting: ‘We are devastated to hear news reports this evening that Papa Bouba Diop has passed away, aged 42. Rest well, Wardrobe’.
Fellow former club Portsmouth also paid their respects: ‘We’re devastated to hear reports that FA Cup winner Papa Bouba Diop has passed away after a long illness, aged just 42. Rest in peace, The Wardrobe.’