If you are a true football fan, you will remember the name Ali Dia but all for the wrong reasons.
In November 1996, a struggling Southampton played Leeds United but they faced many injury problems going into the game.
Because of the limited number of players they had available, an unknown trialist known as Ali Dia made his way onto the Southampton bench.
A man who claimed to be World Footballer of the year George Weah rang Graeme Souness and give him a tip-off and that is why Souness decided to take his chance on the 29-year-old Senegalese player.
Manager Graeme Souness didn’t want to bring him on but was forced to after Matt Le Tissier picked up an injury late in the game.
Ali Dia came on and didn’t manage to get even half of his passes on target with only a 30% pass completion rate, he was running around like a headless chicken, making only 28 touches in the process.
Leeds United WON the match 2-0.
Matt Le Tissier initially thought Ali Dia was only at the club as part of a competition, but he realised his footballing abilities weren’t as good as his blagging abilities.
#OnThisDay in 1996, Ali Dia played his one & only Premier League game. pic.twitter.com/PnOaNgLsgO— Sky Sports Retro (@SkySportsRetro) November 23, 2021
Ali Dia was out of the door as soon as possible and was never seen again until…
2016: Ali Dia has been found
In 2016, journalist Kelly Naqi from sports news media website Bleacher Report did some investigation and managed to track down the unreachable Dia.
Bleacher Report managed to track him via his family, and it turns out his real name is Aly Dia, not Ali Dia. He was raised in Dieuppeul-Derkle, a suburb of Dakar, Senegal, one of the poorest countries in the world.
They caught up with his mother and she said that he earned a master of business administration from San Fransisco in 2003 and that he also has a son named Simon who is a professional footballer for a Thailand club.
“[Weah] was a friend to my daughter, Sophie, living in France, Aly knew [Weah] through her.”
Kelly Naqi then contacted Sophie, who said, “Of course they know each other. Weah is a very good friend of mine. [George and I] still keep in touch.”
She continued, “I cannot give you [Weah’s] phone number. First, I have to check with him and see if he’ll agree. If so, I’ll call you back.”
However, she never called back and never answered two follow-up messages.
Ali Dia backed his claims that he knew George Weah and that he did play for Paris Saint-Germain in 1986-88 and won the Paris cup with them.
Was Ali Dia a professional liar or is there some truth to his stories? Let us know!