Diarra has hardly followed the traditional route to the top of the French game, as he had spells at Bayern Munich and Liverpool before making his mark in Ligue 1 with Lens and then Lyon. However, it was at Bordeaux that he shone under the guidance of the man now in charge of the French national team, Laurent Blanc.
After making his senior international debut against Republic of Ireland back in 2004, Diarra waited for his chance to become a regular as senior stars such as Patrick Vieira were ahead of him in the pecking order, but he is now a key man in the French side heading into Euro 2012.
One of the few players to emerge from the fiasco that was the French 2010 World Cup adventure with his reputation intact, he played in six Euro 2012 qualifiers and was tipped to secure the captain’s armband until 'keeper Hugo Lloris landed the role.
This combative midfielder will still give his all to the Les Bleus cause this summer, even if he will not be leading the team onto the field in Poland and Ukraine.