Left Back: Djimi Traore
Djimi Traoré, what a cunt. I don’t say that lightly about Liverpool players. Except Paul Konchesky. And Charles Itandje. And Fernando Torres. But whilst they’re cunts for either being shit or simply being cuntish, Traoré is much, much worse. Not only was he shit, but he had the gall to win one of the biggest prizes in football despite being so shit that I wouldn’t have wished him inflicted on Everton. Maybe on Man United.
Given the utter mess of nerves he appeared to be in his first few games for Liverpool back in 2000, it seems reasonably ridiculous that there was actually a fair amount of competition to prise him from Laval. Needless to say, AC Milan and PSG weren’t quite as interested when we punted him out of the door six years later.
Traoré was sent to Lens for the 2001/02 season and played a big part in the side that nearly won Ligue 1 – proving only that the French leagues are rather pish. He played alongside another bona fide cunt, El Hadji-Diouf, that season, but the less said about him the better as I find it difficult to see him name without flying into a murderous rage.
He appeared seventy-five times under Gérard Houllier, often at centre back covering for Stéphane Henchoz, but it was under a certain fat Spanish waiter that Traoré truly rose to the highest levels of shitness. Josemi, Jan Kromkamp, Antonio Núñez, Andriy Voronin are all regarded to be amongst Rafael Benítez’s biggest misjudgements, but perhaps the worst of them all was picking Traoré for no less than forty-two games in the 2004/05 season, and for two of them in particular.
The height of his stupidity, and that for which he will be most fondly remembered (by opposition fans) came on the 18th January 2005. An inexperienced Liverpool side – which contained such future luminaries of the game as David Raven, Zak Whitbread, Jon Welsh and Darren Potter – was banjoed out of the FA Cup by the most spectacular of own goals.
With the game at 0-0, Traoré tried a ‘Zidane drag-back’ on the edge of his own six yard box to deal with Ricahrd Chaplow’s cross. It was never going to end pretty.
It didn’t get any better for the Malian muppet either. Having somehow managed to worm his way into the starting line up for the Champions League final, he gave away the free kick inside a minute that led to Paolo Maldini opening the scoring. He then continued to look as far out of his depth as Jason McAteer would have on Mastermind as Milan buggered Liverpool royally for forty-five minutes.
He would have been taken off at half time had Steve Finnan not been injured, but he was given a stay of execution and thanks to the most unlikely of comebacks he achieved something which Francesco Totti, Roberto Baggio, Eric Cantona, Lothar Matthäus and Fat Ronaldo never managed. Just goes to show that the old adage ‘the cream always rises’ is total bullshit.
It’s that for which I love him though. That a man of such undeniable shitness has in his collection a Champions League winners’ medal (and, let’s not forget, both League Cup and FA Cup winners’ medals as well) gives hope to all those hoofing a ball around a muddy park on a Sunday that they too can rise to the pinnacle of the game. All they need to do is find someone stupid enough to believe in them.
Remember; don’t blame it on the Biscan, don’t blame it on the Hamman, don’t blame it on the Finnan, blame it on Traoré.