Lass Diarra playing for Anzhi in 2012
|Full name||Lassana Diarra|
|Date of birth||10 March 1985|
|Place of birth||Paris, France|
|Height||1.73 m (5 ft 8 in)|
|Current club||Anzhi Makhachkala|
|Red Star 93|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 20 May 2013.
† Appearances (Goals).
Lassana Diarra (born 10 March 1985), or simply Lass, is a French footballer who plays for Anzhi Makhachkala. His predominant position is defensive midfielder but he can also play in a more advanced role and has played at right back, which he occasionally did for former club Chelsea, as well as France.
Early career 
Lass was turned down by football clubs as a youngster. FC Nantes deemed him too "small and lightweight" to succeed at 170 cm and 58 kg (5'7" and 9 stone). Lass admitted he thought his "football career was over". His next stop was Le Mans UC, where Diarra claimed they "didn't seem to care" about him.
Club career 
Le Havre 
Lass's footballing career finally began at Le Havre, a former French top-flight football team. Outstanding in his defensive midfield role, his reputation started to grow and impressive performances saw his selection to the French U-21 squad. Along with the reputation came interest from other clubs, and Chelsea became potential suitors. With Chelsea's Claude Makélélé not getting any younger, Chelsea's wide network of scouts tagged Diarra as the "new Makélélé" and the club promptly paid £1 million for his services in July 2005.
Lass was in Chelsea's first team squad in the 2005–06 season, but did not get much first team football. His Chelsea debut came in the UEFA Champions League in October 2005, when he was given a brief run out as a substitute when Chelsea were 4–0 up against Real Betis. However, he was not expecting to come straight into the side. Learning from Makélélé, a master of his position, Lass improved throughout the season, showing impressively when playing for the reserve team. He played well against Huddersfield Town in the FA Cup third round, winning rave reviews from both managers, teammates, and media sources. He became a bit part player in Chelsea's first team and also completed the full 90 minutes in Chelsea's last two games of the season at Blackburn Rovers and Newcastle United, as manager José Mourinho rotated his squad. Diarra was named Chelsea's young player of the season for 2005–06. Due to Chelsea's defensive injury setbacks during the 2006–07 season, he was often asked to play at right-back. He played full Premiership games against Blackburn Rovers, Charlton Athletic, and Middlesbrough, with some success, and also started in Chelsea's win over Arsenal in the League Cup Final at the Millennium Stadium. On 29 July, reports surfaced suggesting he could be on his way to Arsenal in pursuit of first-team football. His contract with Chelsea was due to expire in January 2008, and having made no move to extend it, Chelsea sold him to Arsenal on 31 August 2007, before he could leave on a free transfer.
On 31 August 2007, transfer deadline day, Lass signed for Arsenal for an undisclosed fee. He was given the number 8 shirt, vacated by the departure of winger Freddie Ljungberg. On his move across London, he cited Gunners manager Arsène Wenger as one of the main reasons for joining the club, along with the style of football played by Arsenal. Wenger had called the young Frenchman a "multi-functional player", and a good addition to the squad. Diarra made his Arsenal debut as a late substitute in the home leg of the 2007–08 Champions League group stage match against Sevilla, and his full debut against Newcastle United in the third round of the League Cup. Lass started his first Premier League match for Arsenal against Aston Villa. With the emergence of defensive midfielder Mathieu Flamini in the Arsenal side, Diarra saw only limited action in the early months of the season. Having expressed concerns that he was not playing enough first team football, Diarra signed for Portsmouth in January 2008 after only 5 months at Arsenal for an undisclosed fee believed to be around £5.5 million.
Lass signed for Portsmouth on 17 January 2008. He was given his first start against Derby County, contributing to a 3–1 win at Fratton Park. He scored his first goal for the club in the following match, against FA Cup Fourth Round Championship opponents Plymouth Argyle, and his first Premier League goal two weeks later, a controversial late winner against Bolton Wanderers. Diarra went on to play in every minute of Portsmouth's remaining FA Cup matches FA Cup 2007-2008 en route to claiming the trophy in the final. He topped the season by being included in the France squad for Euro 2008; this and the FA Cup win arguably vindicated his decision to part company with Arsenal, Diarra himself saying that it had "more than justified my decision." He played in the 2008 Community Shield against Manchester United, missing in the penalty shoot out which was won by United. On 18 September 2008 he scored Pompey's first ever goal in a major European competition against Vitória Guimaraes, his third and final goal for the club. The first red card of Diarra's Premier League career came on 28 September 2008 when he was booked twice against Tottenham Hotspur at Fratton Park. In mid December 2008, Portsmouth agreed a fee with Real Madrid subject to medical that he would join them on 1 January 2009 for a fee of around €20 million (£18.88 million).
Real Madrid 
Portsmouth announced on 17 December 2008 that they had accepted a "substantial" offer from Real Madrid C.F. for Lass Diarra's services and €20 million transfer was agreed five days later. He was assigned the number 6 shirt of Mahamadou Diarra for domestic competitions as the Malian midfielder was out with a season-ending injury and the vacant number 39 for the Champions League. He wore the name Lass on the back of his shirt to avoid confusion with Mahamadou. His transfer was officially completed on 1 January 2009, the opening of the transfer window.
Lass's performance for Real Madrid in his first few months earned him a spot among the starting eleven on UEFA's 2008/09 La Liga Breakthrough Team. The Madridista joined Sevilla's Diego Perotti as the only foreigner on the list. According to the UEFA website, Lass "joined Real Madrid in the winter transfer window with a very low profile, although in a few short months he managed to convince the demanding Madridista fan base."
For the 2009–10 season Lass was assigned the number 10 shirt after Wesley Sneijder moved to Internazionale and Mahamadou Diarra came back from injury and reclaimed the number 6 shirt. Lass scored his first official goal for Madrid in the 2009–2010 La Liga season opener against Deportivo de La Coruña, providing his side with their winning goal in a 3–2 victory.
In August 2010, it was reported that Lass Diarra has been transfer listed by Real. However, José Mourinho included Lass Diarra in his starting lineup for the first game of the 2010/11 season. Because Madrid bought Sami Khedira, Diarra faced further competition to get into the squad. However, Mourinho stated Lass will not be leaving and said that he saw Lass as a starting player.
After huge speculations of Lass Diarra leaving Real Madrid during the summer 2011 transfer window, during which he didn't participate in the team's preseason, Lass finally stayed at the club, getting the #24 jersey after Sami Khedira had taken #6 and Mesut Özil the #10 during the summer.
He had a decent 2011–12 season, culminating in winning the La Liga title with the club. He participated in the team's 2012 preseason, and won the 2012 Supercopa with the club. It seems he was forced out of the club alongside fellow midfield enforcer Esteban Granero to accommodate the stay of Kaká despite the latter being linked with an exit.
Anzhi Makhachkala 
After falling down in the pecking order, Lass was linked to join Russian side Spartak Moscow. On transfer deadline day, 31 August 2012 Lass joined Anzhi Makhachkala on a four-year deal for an undisclosed fee. He was originally meant to join merely on loan, but the club decided to make the deal permanent. After joining Anzhi Makhachkala, Diarra made an explanation that he joined the club, claiming that Samuel Eto'o persuaded him to join and insisted money wasn't the reason he joined.
Playing style 
Lass has unusually good ball control for a defensive midfielder and has been praised for his physical strength in defense. Due to his versatility, Madrid’s La Sexta television commentators refer to him as a "todocampista" or "jack of all trades."
Personal life 
International career 
Lass Diarra won eighteen caps for the France U-21s. Perhaps his most notable performance came in a UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship qualifying match against England in November 2005. With the game deep into stoppage time and seemingly destined for extra time (the aggregate score was 2–2), Lass received the ball in the England penalty area. A challenge from Kieran Richardson saw Diarra go down, and a penalty was given. His French teammate Jimmy Briand scored the penalty past Scott Carson and France qualified. Lass was selected for the senior team by coach Raymond Domenech for a 2008 Euro qualifier away to Lithuania on 24 March 2007. He started the match, alongside Claude Makélélé and Jérémy Toulalan also in midfield, and played the full 90 minutes. He was also selected that year for a friendly match against Austria on 28 March 2007. Lass's consistent club performances in 2008 meant that he was picked for the France squad for Euro 2008, ahead of high-calibre players such as Djibril Cissé and Mathieu Flamini. However, with France failing to progress beyond the group stages, Lass did not feature in any of their three matches. Following the international retirement of fellow defensive midfielder Makélélé, he was called up for Raymond Domenech's France squad in the 20 August 2008 friendly with Sweden. By the end of the 2010 World Cup Qualifying campaign, Lass had made 26 appearances for France. On 11 May 2010, Lass was named to the preliminary squad of Domenech's squad to play in the 2010 FIFA World Cup. He was later named to the shortened list of players and was expected to be a starter alongside Jérémy Toulalan in the midfield. However, on 22 May, while training with the national team in the high-altitude commune of Tignes, it was announced that Diarra was dropping out of the squad due to suffering severe intestinal pain and stomach cramps as a result of the altitude. A follow-up medical check revealed that the injury requires a significant amount of rest. His parent club, Real Madrid, later revealed that Diarra's injury was due to asthenic syndrome secondary related to sickle-cell anemia, a genetic blood disorder characterized by red blood cells that assume an abnormal, rigid, sickle shape.
Career statistics 
- As of 18 September 2012
- (Correct as of 11 August 2010)
- Real Madrid
- Chelsea Young Player of the Year: 2005–2006
- Hugman, Barry J., ed. (2009). The PFA Footballers' Who's Who 2009–10. Mainstream Publishing. p. 118. ISBN 978-1-84596-474-0.
- Official profile
- C. Colino (02/01/2010). "Xabi saca el balón y yo hago más la guerra" (in spanish). Diario AS. Retrieved 5 January 2010.
- Chelsea FC Official Transfer Statement
- Sky Sports – Gunners line up Diarra deal
- "L'Equipe – Arsenal piste Lassana Diarra". L'Équipe. France. 31 July 2007. Retrieved 28 April 2011.
- Wenger: 'All of them can play in the first team' – Arsenal.com[dead link]
- "Arsenal sign Lassana Diarra from Chelsea". Arsenal.com. 31 August 2007. Retrieved 17 January 2008.[dead link]
- Caroe, Charlie (6 December 2007). "Lassana Diarra: I want to leave Arsenal". London: Telegraph. Retrieved 17 January 2008.
- "French midfielder leaves Arsenal for the south coast". Arsenal.com. 17 January 2008. Archived from the original on 18 January 2008. Retrieved 17 January 2008.
- "Diarra agrees Pompey deal". Sky Sports. 17 January 2008. Retrieved 9 June 2008.
- "Backtracking Diarra commits to Portsmouth". The Times (UK). 18 January 2008. Retrieved 9 June 2008.
- Whyatt, Chris (19 January 2008). "Portsmouth 3–1 Derby Match Report". BBC. Retrieved 9 June 2008.
- Holt, Sarah (26 January 2008). "Portsmouth 2–1 Plymouth Match Report". BBC. Retrieved 9 June 2008.
- Lillywhite, Jamie (9 February 2008). "Bolton 0–1 Portsmouth Match Report". BBC. Retrieved 9 June 2008.
- Lewis, Aimee (17 February 2008). "Preston 0–1 Portsmouth Match Report". BBC. Retrieved 9 June 2008.
- McNulty, Phil (8 March 2008). "Man Utd 0–1 Portsmouth Match Report". BBC. Retrieved 9 June 2008.
- McKenzie, Andrew (5 April 2008). "West Brom 0–1 Portsmouth Match Report". BBC. Retrieved 9 June 2008.
- McNulty, Phil (17 May 2008). "Portsmouth 1–0 Cardiff Match Report". BBC. Retrieved 9 June 2008.
- "France leave out Cisse & Flamini". BBC. 28 May 2008. Retrieved 9 June 2008.
- Hughes, Ian (18 September 2008). "Portsmouth 2–0 Guimaraes Match Report". BBC. Retrieved 16 April 2010.
- "Real Madrid unveil new boy Diarra". BBC. 22 December 2008. Retrieved 22 December 2008.
- "Real Madrid unveil new boy Diarra". BBC Sport Online. 22 December 2008. Retrieved 22 December 2008.
- Jones, Simon; Lawton, Matt (20 August 2010). "Exclusive: Tottenham go for star trio William Gallas, Lassana Diarra and Steven Pienaar". Daily Mail (London). Retrieved 21 August 2010.
- "Real Madrid C.F. – Official Web Site – The Whites draw in league debut despite having several chances on goal". Realmadrid.com. 29 August 2010. Retrieved 28 April 2011.
- "Football , La Liga , Mourinho: United can forget Diarra". Espnstar.Com. 8 January 2011. Retrieved 28 April 2011.
- "Lass Diarra has Spartak offer – agent". ESPN Soccernet. 25 June 2012. Retrieved 11 September 2012.
- "Official: Lassana Diarra joins Anzhi on four-year deal". Goal.com. 3 September 2012. Retrieved 11 September 2012.
- "Anzhi signs Lassana Diarra on loan from Real Madrid". Goal.com. 1 September 2012. Retrieved 11 September 2012.
- "Diarra: I joined Anzhi because of Eto'o, not the money". Goal.com. 11 September 2012. Retrieved 11 September 2012.
- "Real Madrid C.F. – Official Web Site – A pleasant surprise". Realmadrid.com. 4 June 2009. Retrieved 28 April 2011.
- Editorial (24 November 2009). "El Clasico Inquisition: Real Madrid & Barcelona’s Unsung Heroes". Goal.com. Retrieved 28 April 2011.
- "Ramadan Fasting For Real Madrid Trio Lassana, Benzema and Diarra". Dadyal Online. 22 August 2009. Retrieved 31 December 2012.
- "Ambrose strike saves England". UEFA. 11 November 2005. Retrieved 9 June 2008.[dead link]
- "England undone by brave Briand". UEFA. 15 December 2005. Retrieved 9 June 2008.[dead link]
- "Anelka to the rescue for France". UEFA. 24 March 2007. Retrieved 9 June 2008.
- Diarra receives France call – Chelsea FC.com
- Whyatt, Chris (9 June 2008). "Romania 0–0 France Match Report". BBC. Retrieved 21 June 2008.
- McNulty, Phil (13 June 2008). "Netherlands 4–1 France Match Report". BBC. Retrieved 21 June 2008.
- McNulty, Phil (17 June 2008). "France 0–2 Italy & Netherlands 2–0 Romania Match Reports". BBC. Retrieved 21 June 2008.
- "Les Blues omit Nasri". Sky Sports. 12 August 2008. Retrieved 12 August 2008.
- "Lassana". Fff.fr. 29 January 2009. Retrieved 28 April 2011.
- "Lassana Diarra forfait". France Football. 22 May 2010. Retrieved 22 May 2010.
- Pugmire, Jerome (23 May 2010). "Diarra resting after missing out on World Cup". USA Today. Retrieved 24 May 2010.
- History, soccernet.espn.go.com. Retrieved 5 October 2007.
- DIARRA Lassana, fff.fr. Retrieved 15 February 2010
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Lassana Diarra|
- Real Madrid official profile
- Lassana Diarra career stats at Soccerbase
- Lassana Diarra French league stats at LFP.fr (French)
- BDFutbol profile
- Transfermarkt profile
- BBC Profile
- Sky Sports Profile
- FFF Profile (French)
- ESPNsoccernet Profile
- Lassana Diarra at National-Football-Teams.com
- Lassana Diarra – FIFA competition record