Pape Diouf: Marseille’s fearless leader who changed French football forever

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Diouf, who has died after contracting coronavirus, was the first black president of a top-tier football club in Europe

By Eric Devin for Get French Football News

It is difficult to write about the importance of one man at the time of untold tragedy. Paying particular attention to one person who has died after contracting coronavirus may seem arbitrary, almost cruel, or even myopic while tens of thousands are dying. Yet, the life of Pape Diouf is one that deserves recognition.

Born in Chad to Senegalese parents, Diouf moved to Marseille at the age of 18, ostensibly to become a soldier, but he was eager to forge his own path and make the most of the opportunities that could be found in France. To his parents’ chagrin, he started working in a post office, abandoning his studies for a position that was more immediately lucrative. His journey helped form his tough and even blunt approach. When he became a football agent, it made him not only an influential figure but one who was also infinitely relatable.

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