Former PSG defender Abdou Diallo cites “fear of poverty” as motivation for Qatar move

Speaking on the ASAC podcast, Abdou Diallo (27) has explained his decision to leave Paris Saint-Germain and join Qatari side Al-Arabi this summer, citing family and financial reasons. 

Diallo joined Al-Arabi SC from PSG for a reported €15m fee in August, bringing to an end a four-year spell at the Parc des Princes. The Senegalese international centre-back was one of many players in the Parisian “loft” this summer and one of three players to leave the Ligue 1 champions to join the Qatari top flight. Marco Verratti also joined Al-Arabi, whilst Julian Draxler also made the move to Qatar. 

His brother Ibrahima also made the move to Qatar this summer, just a month before Abdou, and this played a role in the former PSG defender’s decision. “It wasn’t at all the project [that I was interested in] at the start of the window. I had made staying in Europe, in the top five leagues, a priority. I received a few interesting approaches. The Qatar offer came at the worst possible time; I didn’t see myself there at all,” he said in an interview transcribed by RMC Sport. 

Diallo continued, “My brother signed there (Qatar) a month earlier. It was a big argument in favour. Last year, I didn’t see him at all. That changes your life. There are more important things than football in life, it has to be said. I am very happy to be closer to my family.” 

The former PSG defender then went on to evoke the financial motivations of making such a move. “Lots of players will recognise this, but I played with fear of poverty, of injury, of not making it, of not improving my family’s life, because football was my escape, my social ladder and an opportunity to improve my way of life. I am the first-born boy, from divorced parents, and in our culture it’s important. I have a place, a rank to hold and responsibilities. For a long time, I have played with this fear. It isn’t the game itself that made me scared, but the risk. I can’t be selfish and think only about my happiness. Life isn’t like that,” he said. 

GFFN | Luke Entwistle

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