Former Senegal, Fulham and Portsmouth midfielder Papa Bouba Diop has died at the age of 42, according to reports.
Diop, who arrived in England in 2004 when he joined Fulham from Lens and went on to play for Portsmouth and briefly West Ham and Birmingham, had been suffering with a long-term illness, according to reports in his homeland.
Fulham tweeted early on Sunday evening: ‘We are devastated to hear news reports this evening that Papa Bouba Diop has passed away, aged 42. Rest well, Wardrobe.’
We are devastated to hear news reports this evening that Papa Bouba Diop has passed away, aged 42.
Rest well, Wardrobe 🖤 pic.twitter.com/rvU53Vqkmn
— Fulham Football Club (@FulhamFC) November 29, 2020
Portsmouth posted: ‘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.’
Lens tweeted: “It is with great sadness that the Racing Club of Lens has just learned of the passing of its former player Papa Bouba #Diop, at the age of 42. We extend our deepest condolences to his loved ones.”
The 6ft 5in player, nicknamed ‘The Wardrobe’, scored the opening goal at the 2002 World Cup finals when Senegal upset reigning champions France 1-0.
FIFA is saddened to learn of the passing of Senegal legend Papa Bouba Diop.
Once a World Cup hero, always a World Cup hero. pic.twitter.com/akUJoPxCal
— FIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) November 29, 2020
FIFA said on its World Cup Twitter account: “FIFA is saddened to learn of the passing of Senegal legend Papa Bouba Diop. Once a World Cup hero, always a World Cup hero.”
He made more than 80 appearances in all competitions for Fulham, scoring nine goals, and in 2007 moved to Pompey, for whom he featured over 50 times.
Diop, whose former clubs also included Swiss sides Neuchatel Xamax and Grasshoppers and Greek club AEK Athens, won 63 caps for his country, scoring 11 goals.
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