Liverpool star Sadio Mane was among the many who praised Pope Bubba Diop after his death at the age of 42.
The former Senegalese midfielder, who played for Fulham and Portsmouth as they won the FA Cup, lost his long battle with illness.
Diop, nicknamed “the wardrobe” due to his size of 6 feet 5 inches, has also had spells in England with Birmingham and West Ham.
He joined Fulham in 2004 and spent three years in West London, before joining Portsmouth.
Diop helped Pompey win the FA Cup under Harry Redknapp in 2008.
He was also part of one of the World Cup’s biggest shocks when he scored the only goal in a 1–0 group stage win over defending champions France in 2002.
“Baby Bubba, we learned of your death with a broken heart.” Mane He wrote without denying a picture of Diop celebrating his World Cup goal. “Know that you will remain in our hearts forever even if you leave without saying goodbye to us. Rest in peace.”
Fulham, Birmingham, Portsmouth and West Ham also expressed their sorrow for the news.
“We were shocked to hear news reports this evening about the death of Papa Bubba Diop, at the age of 42,” Fulham said. “Relax well, wardrobe.”
Meanwhile, Birmingham wrote: “We were saddened to learn of the death of ex-player Papa Bubba Diop at the age of 42.
“Our thoughts are with Baba’s family and friends at this very difficult time.”
Portsmouth said: “We are distressed to hear reports that FA Cup winner Papa Bubba Diop has passed away after a long illness, at the age of 42. Rest in peace, wardrobe.”
Speaking to Sky Sports, Harry Redknapp remembered a beloved man.
“I never heard a bad word of anyone coming out of their mouth. Everyone loved him.
It looked like I dropped him in Portsmouth and then lost it; he ended up going to Fulham.
“I went to see him at Fulham several times and he was a good player, strong, strong and he could get past him, and he played for Senegal, which defeated France in the World Cup.
“Then I finally got him to Portsmouth and he was very touching in what we had achieved. He was such an outstanding player and a great person, always smiling and always laughing. He was amazing to be around and I’m really upset to hear this news. He was really a special person.”
West Ham added: “Everyone at West Ham United is sad when they learn of Papa Bubba Diop’s death at the age of 42.
“Part of our 2011/2012 promotion winning team, he will always be part of our club. Our thoughts are with his family at this time. Rest in peace, Papa.”
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