El-Hadji Diouf has obviously been away from the headlines for too long.
Diouf responded to claims made by Gerrard in his 2007 autobiography. The Englishman suggested his old teammate wasn't committed to the Merseyside club (via The Telegraph):
I wasn't Diouf's number one fan.
Being around Melwood and Anfield I knew which players were hungry, which players had Liverpool at heart. Diouf was just interested in himself.
His attitude was all wrong. I felt he wasn't really a***d about putting his body on the line to get Liverpool back at the top.
Five years later, Diouf's response is utterly ridiculous. He spoke to L'Équipe, as reported by Sky Sports:
Steven Gerrard's words? It is jealousy. I was the most important man at that time and I had everyone at my feet.
I was in the 100 best players of the century list by Pele. Not him.
I respect him as a footballer, but there is no one more selfish than he is. He prefers that Liverpool loses and he scores.
Although he was obviously egged on by the reporter, Diouf's comments are predictably stupid. His decision to speak of Gerrard's 'selfishness' is largely ironic.
The Liverpool captain has remained committed to the club throughout his entire career. When Chelsea came calling, Gerrard stayed. When Manchester United and Real Madrid expressed an interest, he reaffirmed his desire to stay at Anfield (via The Daily Mail).
Gerrard's career is defined by his loyalty and determination.
He remains a key individual for Liverpool and England. Whether he is leading Brendan Rodgers' side out against Stoke or dealing with delayed international assignments in Warsaw, Gerrard is an important midfielder and personality for any team he represents.
Jealousy is an interesting concept.
Is Gerrard jealous of Diouf's ability to spit at an 11-year-old fan? Does Gerrard lose sleep at night because he doesn't taunt seriously injured opponents? Perhaps Gerrard wishes he brawled more often—both on and off the pitch.
It's quite obvious Diouf hasn't overcome a career of disappointment.
Liverpool won the Champions League when Diouf was on loan at Bolton. Upon his Anfield return, the striker was quickly sold. He left the club with a League Cup winner's medal and plenty of enemies.
Since then, Diouf's career has never taken off. Spells at Bolton, Sunderland, Rangers and Doncaster haven't allowed the player to fulfill the potential he showed at the 2002 World Cup. Of course, this is his own fault.
Diouf has somehow been installed as captain of Neil Warnock's Leeds side. His current boss once labelled the player a "sewer rat," indicating he isn't fit to be employed as a professional footballer (via The Telegraph).
It's funny how things work out.
Even so, Diouf will never cease to be anything other than a troublemaker. I very much doubt his Leeds career will end in personal redemption—no matter how many trophies he wins for the Elland Road side.
This outburst is just another stain on a wasted career.
Comparing Diouf and Gerrard as players is straightforward enough. Considering their personalities and the respect they command, it's quite obvious where the jealousy lies.