Senegal's Salif Diao felt 'unwelcome' by some at Liverpool

Salif Diao
Salif Diao played three times for Senegal at the 2002 World Cup and scored against Denmark

Senegal's Salif Diao has told BBC Sport he felt unwanted by some senior players when he joined Liverpool in 2002.

Diao, who joined Liverpool with compatriot El Hadji Diouf after the 2002 World Cup, said he struggled to settle because of their attitude.

"They didn't understand the importance of making other players welcome into the club," he said

"Not the club itself but some of the players at the club made me feel unwelcome."

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Salif Diao

The 40-year-old Diao is now enjoying his retirement at home in Dakar, Senegal.

"When we came in, we never really felt welcomed by some players that were already there, the leaders of the club at the time," he said.

"It's not only me - I think it was also Harry Kewell and so many other players who came into Liverpool at the time - they never had that sense of being welcomed."

Diao pointed to the reception that players received at other clubs in comparison.

"When Didier Drogba went to Chelsea, I think in the first week, he was having dinner at Frank Lampard and John Terry's house, so these are true leaders," he added.

"If players came to Chelsea they made sure during the first week they look after them, invite them to their houses just to show them that they are really welcome."

"If you compare that to Liverpool, it's two different worlds."

He also said that criticism by former Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard in his autobigraphy was "very low".

"I have nothing against him but I think writing books and criticising your ex-teammates is really low," he said.

"Who is he to say this player has a standard for Liverpool and that player doesn't have the standard for Liverpool?

"I am very happy and proud to have played for Liverpool and I always gave 100 percent.

"Today the best reward I get is that everywhere I go in the world Liverpool fans say: thank you Salif for what you did for the club."

Diao spent five years on the books of Liverpool but during that time he was loaned to Birmingham City, Portsmouth and Stoke City, who he joined in 2007 before retiring in 2012.

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