Diarra in 2007.
|Full name||Mahamadou Diarra|
|Date of birth||18 May 1981|
|Place of birth||Bamako, Mali|
|Height||1.82 m (6 ft 0 in)|
|1997–1998||Centre Salif Keita|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only|
Diarra started his professional career at Greek club OFI at the age of 17, being signed after recommendation of his elder brother Harouna, who had joined the club a year earlier. After a single season at Greece and being watched by clubs such as Barcelona and Milan, he decided to join Dutch club Vitesse.
Diarra made his debut for Vitesse on 13 August 1999. During his tenure at the club, his playing style was compared to Ruud Gullit and attracted interest from Juventus, then coached by Carlo Ancelotti. During the summer of 2002, after receiving offers from many European clubs, Vitesse sold Diarra to Lyon by €4 million, although the player favoured a move to Ajax to rejoin his old manager Ronald Koeman. Diarra played a total of 69 league matches and scored 9 times for the Arnhem-based club.
After Real Madrid head coach Fabio Capello asked club president Ramón Calderón to sign "three players", "Diarra, Diarra and Diarra", Real Madrid joined Manchester United in the race to sign the midfielder. Lyon said that Diarra could not leave and put a €40 million price tag on him. However, on 18 August 2006, Real Madrid agreed a fee of €26 million and four days later, Diarra was unveiled at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium by Calderón and was assigned the number 6 shirt.
During the 2006–07 season, Diarra was a staple in Capello's two-defensive midfielder system. He appeared in 33 of Madrid's 38 matches, scoring three times. On 18 June 2007, with Real Madrid needing to win against Mallorca to win the Liga for the first time since 2003, Diarra scored an 81st-minute header to give Madrid a 2–1 lead. In the 84th minute, José Antonio Reyes scored a third goal to ensure Real Madrid were champions.
Diarra played a pivotal role in the 2007–08 title defence under new head coach Bernd Schuster, and he established himself as the first-choice defensive midfielder, causing teammate Fernando Gago to play higher upfield. Real Madrid comfortably won the Liga, finishing eight points clear of second-placed Villarreal. Diarra had now been a league champion for six consecutive seasons, after winning Ligue 1 with Lyon between 2002–03 and 2005–06, and La Liga with Real Madrid in 2006–07 and 2007–08.
In October 2008, while playing an international fixture for Mali against Chad, Diarra was stretchered off the field after receiving a blow to his knee. He was rested for a month and made his next appearance in late November, but was forced to undergo surgery after aggravating his knee injury, which ruled him out for the remainder of the 2008–09 season. In his absence, Real Madrid signed Lassana Diarra from Portsmouth as a replacement defensive midfielder, who was issued Diarra's number 6 shirt. After recovering from injury, Diarra only started 8 further matches in two seasons for Real Madrid. In January 2011, it was reported that Diarra would be leaving Real Madrid, and was linked to several clubs including Málaga.
Diarra returned to French football after signing with Monaco on 27 January 2011. He made his debut in a 0–0 draw against Marseille. Diarra left Monaco after the club was relegated to Ligue 2 at the end of the 2010–11 season. After his departure, he remained without a club for the first half of the 2011–12 season and was linked with moves to the Middle East and English Championship club Doncaster Rovers.
Diarra signed for Premier League side Fulham on 26 February 2012. He agreed to a contract for the remainder of the 2011–12 season, with an option for the 2012–13 season. He made his Fulham debut as a substitute against Wolverhampton Wanderers on 4 March, assisting the fifth goal in a 5–0 win. On 17 March, he made his first start for Fulham in a 3–0 home loss to Swansea City. He scored his first goal for Fulham against Bolton Wanderers on 7 April 2012.
After impressing manager Martin Jol throughout his 11 Premier League match, on 17 May, Diarra signed a new one-year contract at the club, keeping him at Craven Cottage until the end of the 2012–13 season.
Diarra was one of 12 players released by Fulham at the end of the 2012–13 season. Despite his release, Martin Jol remained positive on Diarra and vowed to help him over the summer to continue his rehabilitation.
|Real Madrid||2006–07||La Liga||33||3||4||0||—||10[d]||1||—||47||4|
|1||6 January 2002||Ismailia Stadium, Ismailia, Egypt||Egypt||1–0||2–1||Friendly|
|3||30 January 2004||Stade El Menzah, Tunis, Tunisia||Burkina Faso||2–0||3–1||2004 African Cup of Nations|
|4||7 February 2004||Guinea||2–1||2–1|
|5||5 June 2005||Stade Amari Daou, Ségou, Mali||Liberia||4–1||4–1||2006 FIFA World Cup qualification|
|6||6 February 2007||Stade Marville, Saint-Malo, France||Lithuania||2–1||3–1||Friendly|
|7||25 March 2008||Stade Sébastien Charléty, Paris, France||France B||3–1||3–2|
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