Sadio Mane says Papa Bouba Diop ‘will stay in our hearts’ as Fulham and Portsmouth pay homage to the ‘wardrobe’ which has sadly lost its battle with disease


Liverpool star Sadio Mane was one of many to pay tribute to Papa Bouba Diop after his death at the age of 42.

The former Senegalese midfielder, who played for Fulham and Portsmouth where he won the FA Cup, has lost his long battle with disease.

Diop won an FA Cup with Portsmouth in 2008

Diop, nicknamed “The Wardrobe” because of his 6-foot-5 height, also had spells in England with Birmingham and West Ham.

He joined Fulham in 2004 and spent three years in West London, before signing for Portsmouth.

Diop helped Pompey win an FA Cup under Harry Redknapp in 2008.

He was also part of one of the biggest shocks of the World Cup when he scored the only goal in a 1-0 group stage victory over defending champions France in 2002.

“Pope Bouba, it is heartbroken that we learned of your passing,” Mané wrote under a photo of Diop celebrating his World Cup goal. “Know that you will remain in our hearts forever, even if you left without saying goodbye to us. TEAR. ”

Fulham, Birmingham, Portsmouth and West Ham have also expressed their sadness at the news.

Fulham said: “We are devastated to learn this evening that Papa Bouba Diop has passed away at the age of 42. Rest well, wardrobe. ”

Getty Images – Getty

Diop was part of the winning side of the West Ham promotion in the 2011/12 Championship season

Meanwhile, Birmingham wrote: “We are devastated to learn of the passing of former player Papa Bouba Diop at the age of 42.

“Our hearts go out to Dad’s family and friends at this extremely difficult time.

Portsmouth said: “We are devastated to learn that FA Cup winner Papa Bouba Diop has passed away from a long illness, at the age of just 42. Rest in peace, The Wardrobe.

Speaking to Sky Sports, Harry Redknapp recalled a much-loved man.

“I never heard a bad word for anyone from his mouth. Everyone loved him.

“I looked like I signed him at Portsmouth and then I lost him, he ended up going to Fulham.

“I went to see him at Fulham a few times and he was such a good player, strong and powerful and could pass it, and he played in this Senegal team that beat France at the World Cup.

“Then finally I brought him to Portsmouth and he was very influential in what we did. He was a top player and a top person, always smiling, always laughing. He was just sweet to have around and I’m really upset to hear this news. He was truly a special character.

West Ham added: “Everyone at West Ham United is saddened to learn of the passing of Papa Bouba Diop at the age of 42.

“Being part of our winning team of the 2011/12 promotion, he will always be part of our club. Our thoughts are with his family at this time. Rest in peace, dad.


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