"I'm an easy target, I'm not a bad guy, I'm a good guy:" Controversial former Doncaster Rovers star hits back at critics

El Hadji Diouf in action for Doncaster Rovers.
El Hadji Diouf in action for Doncaster Rovers.
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Controversial former Doncaster Rovers star El Hadji Diouf has hit back at his critics insisting: "I know in my heart I'm a good guy."

Diouf, who scored six goals in 22 appearances for Rovers during the 2011-12 season and was linked with a series of controversial incidents during his playing career in England, has now retired from the game and lives in Senegal where he is treated as a national hero for his role for his country during the 2002 World Cup.

But in an interview with BBC Africa the former Liverpool, Blackburn and Rangers star has addressed issues such as spitting at opponents and confronting fellow players during his days in English football - and insists he was misunderstood.

He said: "I am a bad loser. I am a lion, I am a bad loser and it's not wrong to be a bad loser. I have got character and I want people to respect me."

He added: "I am an easy target. It's easy to talk about El Hadji Diouf and I let them talk but I know in my heart I am a good guy. My family know, my population knows, my continent knows I am a good guy and that's the best thing. The rest is not my problem."

And on spitting, he said: "Maybe they used to tell me something I didn't want to hear. I did that, I paid and now it's finished."

He is now working in Senegal as a government goodwill ambassador, is President Macky Sall's adviser on sport and runs his own sports newspaper business in Dakar.