Diame told NUFC TV: “When I was four or five he would bring me the ball. He loved football. I was too young to play in a team so he brought me to a park to play, made me start with the headers, right foot, left foot. When I turned six he brought me to a team in the town and I just kept going, just kept going. It’s just thinking, and watching the sky for him, always – when I pass the line, all the time, before every single game. It’s sad, but I’m living with it now. Before every single game, I have this moment when I think about him. Then after, I’ll play my game, and that’s it. It’s become something.
“He had cancer, and when he saw that he was ending he preferred to go to Senegal to pass away there, so I wasn’t there. It was a sad moment of my life, but one moment that helped me a lot to become a man. I always have this feeling when I go inside the pitch, all the time I think about him before the game. It’s just my extra motivation – to become a professional player to look after my family.
“When he was here, I was only just enjoying, not thinking about anything. Sleeping, eating and enjoying – they’re the only things I was doing. When he passed away I started to think about the future, about what my mother was doing to look after us, how she was bringing the money. All this stuff made me think a little bit. With this experience, of course you have to realise that you become a man with responsibility.
“I was young, and my sister and brother too. When I saw my little brother and my mum by herself, it was difficult, a tough moment. For maybe five months I lost my football – wasn’t the same player. But I had this moment. I said I needed to do it for him. He was the one who brought me to play football, who taught me the first things in football – it was him. I thought, ‘I can’t leave my mother working hard like that for us and not do anything’, so it was the easy way for me to help her.
“I think I’ve done well in this part, and I’m proud of it. Hopefully I can finish my career and still look after them. I’m definitely proud, to be honest. I’m proud of my career. Being older now, the most important things that I’m thinking now, to be more proud than I am at the moment, is to make sure that I secure the rest of the lives of my family – that’s the next step, I would say. But yes, of course, I’m proud.”