Papa Bouba Diop – Senegal legend and former Portsmouth and Fulham midfielder – has died at the age of 42.
FIFA confirmed the death of the midfielder, saying: ” FIFA is saddened to learn of the passing of Senegal legend, PapaBouba Diop. Once a World Cup hero, always a World Cup hero”.
Diop secured his place in his country’s history by scoring the winner against reigning champions France in their first ever World Cup game in 2002. Senegal went on to reach the quarter-finals.
He also enjoyed a lengthy career in England – where he was affectionately known as the ‘Wardrobe’ due to his stature – after joining Fulham from French club Lens in 2004.
The London club tweeted: “We are devastated to hear news reports this evening that Papa Bouba Diop has passed away, aged 42.
Diop joined Portsmouth from Fulham and was part of their 2008 FA Cup-winning side. The club tweeted on Sunday evening: “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.”
Diop went on to play for West Ham after leaving Porstmouth – via a brief spell in Greece with AEK Athens – and the club said: “Everyone at West Ham United is saddened to learn of the passing of Papa Bouba Diop at just 42.
“A part of our 2011/12 promotion-winning squad, he’ll always be a part of our club. Our thoughts are with his family at this time. Rest in peace, Papa.”