By Edward Ejoh
Former Portsmouth, West Ham and Fulham star Papa Bouba Diop, known for scoring Senegal’s famous goal to beat France in the 2002 World Cup, has reportedly passed away aged 42 after a battle with illness
Former Premier League star Papa Bouba Diop has passed away at the age of 42.
According to a number of reports, Bouba Diop had been suffering with a long-time illness, Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease.
His former club, RC Lens, paid tribute on Twitter, writing: “It is with great sadness that Racing Club de Lens has just learned of the disappearance of its former player Papa Bouba Diop , at the age of 42.
“We offer our deepest condolences to his loved ones.”
So too did world governing body FIFA, who declared: “FIFA is saddened to learn of the passing of Senegal legend Papa Bouba Diop.
“Once a World Cup hero, always a World Cup hero.”
Diop became a national hero when he scored the goal which saw Senegal beat France 1-0 in their opening World Cup game in 2002.
The midfielder first arrived in English football when he joined Fulham from Lens in 2004, becoming known as “The Wardrobe” at Craven Cottage.
He joined Portsmouth in 2007 and after a stint with AEK Athens returned to English football by joining West Ham in 2011 and helping them win promotion back to the Premier League.
After one season with the Hammers he joined Birmingham City before being released in January 2013.
Diop won 63 caps for Senegal, scoring 11 goals including his historic World Cup strike.