Talal El Karkouri
El Karkouri lining up for Morocco in 2009
|Date of birth||8 July 1976|
|Place of birth||Casablanca, Morocco|
|Height||1.86 m (6 ft 1 in)|
|2000–2001||→ Aris (loan)||11||(0)|
|2003||→ Sunderland (loan)||8||(0)|
|2006||→ Al Gharafa (loan)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
Talal El Karkouri (Arabic: طلال القرقوري, born 8 July 1976 in Casablanca) is a Moroccan former professional footballer. He played top-flight football in Morocco, France, Greece, England and Qatar before retiring in 2012. He made his international debut for Morocco in 2000, and earned 53 caps, playing at three Africa Cup of Nations.
He started his career with Raja Casablanca, and was discovered by French giants Paris Saint-Germain in 2000. He played in the UEFA Cup and UEFA Champions League, but after failing to capture a regular place he was sent on loan to Aris in Greece.
On 31 January 2003 he was loaned to Sunderland of the Premier League until the end of the season. His spell was affected by injury, and he was released on 26 May after the club were relegated. The Black Cats lost in all eight of his appearances.
In the summer of 2004, he was bought by Charlton Athletic of the Premier League for £1 million. He scored 5 goals in his debut season at Charlton, starting with the only goal in a win over Blackburn Rovers on 27 September 2004, by heading Danny Murphy's corner. He also scored the club's goal of the season against Arsenal.
On 30 December 2006, El Karkouri was given a yellow card by referee Rob Styles for an act of simulation in a home match against Aston Villa involving Villa defender Olof Mellberg. He was accused of a similar act against Reading on 9 April 2007 later in the same season, this time involving Reading striker Leroy Lita, who headbutted him.
Reading boss Steve Coppell accused El Karkouri of faking a 'death roll' and claimed that he would have needed treatment in intensive care had Lita headbutted him. Lita urged the FA to do something about 'diving cheats' after being hit with the ban. He said "I didn't touch him, he went down like an idiot and it was cheating". The FA disagreed and banned the Reading striker for 3 games for violent conduct. Coppell did not apologise for his comments.
On 25 May 2012, El Karkouri announced his retirement from professional football.
On 29 January 2008 he announced his retirement from international football, after his team's failure to qualify for the latter stages of the 2008 African Nations Cup, but he returned on 28 March 2009 playing the 2010 World Cup qualifications match against Gabon in Casablanca.
- "Sunderland bolster defence". BBC Sport. 31 January 2003. Retrieved 24 August 2011.
- Davie, Chris (18 May 2016). "Aston Villa's Jack Grealish sets unwanted Premier League record". Goal.com. Retrieved 19 May 2016.
- "Charlton sign El Karkouri". BBC Sport. 11 July 2004. Retrieved 24 August 2011.
- "Charlton 1-0 Blackburn". BBC News. 27 September 2004.
- Russell Kempson (13 April 2007). "Irate Coppell lets rip over El Karkouri 'death roll'". London: The Times. Retrieved 13 April 2007.
- Lewis Rutledge (16 April 2007). "Lita Furious with FA". Sky Sports. Retrieved 16 April 2007.