Many people are paying tribute to the Senegalese footballer who scored the opening goal of the 2002 World Cup, which was played against the defending champions France.
Papa Bouba Diop, a former midfielder who played for various European football clubs and represented Senegal more than 60 times, passed away at the age of 42, reportedly due to a protracted illness. He was a former Senegalese national team player.
Diop scored the first goal of the 2002 World Cup, which was hosted in Japan and South Korea. In the opening game of the tournament, Senegal stunned the tournament’s reigning winners, France, by defeating them 1-0.
On Sunday, the Senegalese Football Federation issued a statement confirming Diop’s passing.
Former club Lens in France issued a statement expressing “deep grief” upon hearing the news and extending condolences to his family. Fulham Football Club in West London, another former club, issued a statement expressing “devastation” at learning of his passing.
Through its World Cup Twitter account, the regulatory body of football worldwide, FIFA, expressed that it was “saddened to learn of the passing of Senegalese hero Papa Bouba Diop.”
“If you’ve won the World Cup once, you’ve won the World Cup forever.”
Diop became Senegal’s all-time leading scorer at the 2002 World Cup after tallying two more goals in the team’s 3-3 draw with Uruguay in the group stage. Senegal went on to go to the quarterfinals of the tournament as a result of Diop’s efforts.
The all-around defensive midfielder made 63 appearances for his country and scored 11 goals during the course of his career.
ASC Diaraf in his home country of Senegal was where Diop began his professional club career. He then spent time in Switzerland with Vevey, Neuchatel Xamax, and Grasshoppers before signing with Lens in France in 2002.
After moving to Fulham, where he remained for three years, he then moved on to Portsmouth, where he was a member of the squad that won the FA Cup in 2007–2008. In that season, Portsmouth was victorious.
Before calling it quits as a player seven years ago, he had also played for a brief period of time for West Ham United and Birmingham City.
According to reports made by British media outlets, Diop was diagnosed with Charcot-Marie-Tooth illness.
On Twitter, both Fulham and Portsmouth expressed their respects to the deceased player who was known as “The Wardrobe.”
Chris Kamara, who played midfield for Portsmouth in the past, expressed his devastation after learning the news.
“I was unaware that he had been ill… “He was taken from us far too soon,” Kamara wrote on Twitter. When we were laughing together, I would refer to him as “The Man Mountain Himself,” and we would have a terrific time. RIP Papa.”
David James, who played goalkeeper for Portsmouth in the past, has also expressed his sorrow over the passing of Diop, whom he referred to as a “genuine gentleman.”
Gary Lineker, a former striker for England and current television personality, tweeted “How horribly awful this is.” “Taken so young. RIP Papa Bouba Diop.”
Papa Bouba Diop Bio
Papa Bouba Diop was a Senegalese professional footballer. He was born on January 28, 1978, and passed away on November 29, 2020.
Although he had a preference for playing defensive midfield, he was versatile enough to also play center back, which is the position he had throughout his time at Lens. Diop was known to be a powerful and aggressive player in the game. Comparisons of his playing style and abilities to Patrick Vieira were inevitable.
Diop played most of his professional career in England, where his tall size earned him the fan moniker “The Wardrobe.” During his time in the Premier League, he was a member of both Fulham and Portsmouth, and in 2008, he won the FA Cup with the latter club. In addition, he played professional soccer in Switzerland for Neuchatel Xamax and Grasshopper, as well as in France for Lens and in Greece for AEK Athens.
Diop scored his second of a total of 11 goals for Senegal during a 1–0 victory over France in the opening match of the 2002 FIFA World Cup, which was also Senegal’s first match ever at the FIFA World Cup. France was the reigning world champion at the time of the game. In addition, he competed in four tournaments for the Africa Cup of Nations, in which he finished as a runner-up in 2002.
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