A fringe member of France's squad at the last two FIFA World Cups, Alou Diarra started half of the team's UEFA EURO 2012 qualifiers. A commanding, authoritative defensive midfielder in the mould of Patrick Vieira, he joined Olympique de Marseille from FC Girondins de Bordeaux in summer 2011 and helped them win the League Cup for the third successive season.
• Snapped up by FC Bayern München in his late teens after a short spell in France's Ligue 2 with CS Louhans-Cuiseaux; impressed in Bayern's amateur side but made no Bundesliga appearances.
• Joined Liverpool FC on a five-year contract in 2002 but, like at Bayern, never made a first-team outing and was sent back on loan to France in successive seasons, playing Ligue 1 football for Le Havre AC, SC Bastia and RC Lens.
• Completed a permanent move to Lens and at the end of his second season was included in France's 2006 World Cup squad, coming on as a 56th-minute substitute for Patrick Vieira in the final.
• Joined Olympique Lyonnais after the tournament as a replacement for another Diarra (Real Madrid FC-bound Mahamadou) but featured sporadically in the club's title-winning team and joined Bordeaux a year later.
• Four impressive seasons with Bordeaux – the second of which he was captain for the team's Ligue 1/Coupe de la Ligue double success – established his international credentials and he appeared at a second World Cup in 2010, skippering Les Bleus in their final group game against hosts South Africa.
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