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Friday, 28 June, 2002, 14:55 GMT 15:55 UK

Diouf on top of the World

By Tracie Simpson
BBC Sport Online

Senegal's El Hadji Diouf has been handed one of the highest honours in the World Cup by being named in Fifa's World Cup All-Star team.

The Lens striker, who is on the verge of a move to Liverpool in the English Premiership, was one of 16 players named in the All-Star team.

He is in the illustruous company of Brazil's Ronaldo and Rivaldo, Germany's Miroslav Klose and England's Sol Campbell.

" The fact that the best African footballer, a young Senegalese man is part of the best team of the tournament is a big honour for us "
Bounama Dieye, vice president of the Senegal FA

Diouf's selection in the All-Star team came just a day after he was named in the Golden Ball list, which ranks the top ten players in the World Cup.

The first vice president of the Senegal FA Bounama Dieye said the selection is a huge honour to Diouf and the whole Senegalese team.

"It is a great honour for Senegal after what we did at the World Cup," he said.

"The fact that the best African footballer, a young Senegalese man is part of the best team in the tournament is a big honour for us and it makes us feel really proud."

"I think El Hadji is the leader of this team, not only through what he does on the pitch but also in the way he interacts with the other players.

"I think he strengthens the team with his fighting spirit his determination and his will to win. He is also simply a nice guy and a joy to be around."

Diouf made his mark on the World Cup right from the starting whistle, when his team shocked the defending champions France 1-0 in the opening game on 31 May.

Just six minutes had elapsed in the match when Diouf skipped past Marcel 'The Rock' Desailly - and left the World Cup winner floundering on his backside.

Diouf caused chaos with his blistering pace and mazy runs, exposing the frail French defence and setting up the winning goal.

And if many in the footballing world had not heard of him before the 1-0 win over France, they will surely know who he is now.

France's 1998 World Cup winning coach Aime Jacquet has even gone as far to suggest Diouf is one of football's new superstars.

"He is such an impressive player. He played in France last season and gave some quite spectacular performances. He is a special talent, Jacquet said.

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