Cape Town - Former Liverpool striker El-Hadji Diouf has renewed his war of words with club legend Steven Gerrard after suggesting that Mario Balotelli's failed stint at Anfield was down to the midfielder.
Having traded barbs with the likes of Gerrard and Jamie Carragher in recent years, Diouf has once again criticised the former Liverpool captain.
The former Senegal international, who returned from football in 2015, has launched a passionate defence of Balotelli, claiming the Italy international was doomed to fail because of the presence of Gerrard.
"I told him not to go to Liverpool," Diouf told L'Equipe. "It wasn't made for him, that things couldn't go well with Gerrard, who has never had his talent and then said negative things about him.
"Gerrard is a jealous man who doesn't like men of character. Mario is a good person that you should listen to.
"He's not a guy who's going to cause problems in the dressing room.
"There are a lot of things that have been made up about him. People tell tales about him, but they're often a load of rubbish."
Diouf also gave his verdict on Balotelli's spell at Manchester City, where the striker experienced mixed success.
He added: "He was young when he arrived in England, you mustn't forget that.
"When he had problems at City, when he wasn't playing, we talked. I told him that it [his form] would come back.
"Of course it was hard for him, because he's very sensitive. People perhaps don't understand that."