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Thursday, 27 June, 2002, 10:09 GMT 11:09 UK

Jacquet salutes deadly Diouf

By Phil McNulty
BBC Sport Online's man in Japan

France's 1998 World Cup-winning coach Aime Jacquet has hailed Liverpool's Senegalese signing El Hadji Diouf as one of football's new superstars.

Jacquet paid tribute to striker Diouf after he was named as one of the top ten players in the World Cup.

Diouf stood out in the Senegal side that reached the quarter-final before losing to Turkey.

And Liverpool boss Gerard Houllier was delighted to have clinched the striker's move from Lens before he came to global attention.

" Diouf is a special talent "
Aime Jacquet

Diouf's surge to prominence was confirmed by his nomination in the elite group of World Cup players by Fifa's Technical Support Group, led by former Aston Villa and Celtic manager Dr Josef Venglos.

Houllier signed Diouf from under the noses of Spanish side Valencia, and his judgement was backed up by the powerful striker's displays in the tournament.

Jacquet, a close friend of Houllier and his successor as France coach, said: "I am absolutely delighted that Diouf has been included.

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

"All the ten names on the list are worthy of inclusion, but I am particularly pleased Diouf is there because I like his qualities."

Diouf will be joined at Liverpool by his Senegal team-mate, midfield man Salif Diao, who is switching to Anfield from Sedan.

Jacquet shrugged off the disappointment of France's first-round exit to express his delight at the quality of play on show at the World Cup.

"Japan had some very good results, but I was really impressed with the superb performances of the South Korean team," he said.

"They have made some exceptional improvements under Guus Hiddink - and Japan played well under Philippe Troussier."

Jacquet also has high hopes for the World Cup final between Brazil and Germany in Yokohama on Sunday.

"I think it will be a great final. Both countries have experience of these finals and both have formidable records in the competition. It could be a classic game."


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