El Hadji Diouf makes crazy claim about Michael Owen's 2001 Ballon d'Or win

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Football News

With only two more goals (three) than spitting incidents (one) during his 55 appearances for Liverpool, it is fair to say that El Hadji Diouf was never the most popular player amongst fans, even when he turning out for the Merseyside club.

But the former Senegal international has taken things to another level in recent years by calling out Liverpool icon Steven Gerrard on several occasions. The most recent instance came just yesterday when he ranted about the Englishman's character in an interview with French TV channel SFR Sport.

However, as it turns out, Gerrard wasn't the only former Liverpool fan favourite to come in for criticism. That's after Diouf made a pretty bold claim about his old Anfield teammate, Michael Owen.

At the time Diouf became Owen's striker partner at Liverpool - in the summer of 2002 - the latter was one of the most prolific strikers in European football.

Europe's best

Indeed, in the two seasons prior, Owen had racked up an impressive 52 goals in 89 games and, as a result, was named the 2001 Ballon d'Or winner.

According to Diouf, however, the English striker should never have been given the honour because, in his eyes, he was actually the better player at the time.

Anyone who has listened to Diouf over the years will know that he doesn't lack confidence. However, this might be a step too far even for him.

Whilst Owen racked up goals for Liverpool en route to an historic cup treble in the 2000-01 season and followed it up with 19 Premier League goals in 29 games the next season, Diouf was struggling to hit double figures for Ligue 1 side Lens.

Indeed, aside from a few impressive performances for Senegal at the 2002 World Cup, Diouf's on-field displays very rarely lived up to the hype he created off the field.

While the likes of Raul, Francesco Totti, Luis Figo and David Beckham may feel hard done by that Owen took the 2001 Ballon d'Or crown, Diouf has to have a very high opinion of himself to claim that he should be anywhere near the list.

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Steven Gerrard
Jamie Carragher
Michael Owen
El-Hadji Diouf
Premier League
Daniel Sturridge

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