Where is Djimi Traore now? Liverpool cult hero who scored spinning back-heel own goal

Djimi Traore played at Liverpool from 1999 to 2006
-Credit: (Image: Getty Images)

It's been nearly a decade since Djimi Traore completed one of the greatest zero-to-hero transformations in Liverpool history, earning himself cult-hero status on Merseyside.

The Malian international first scored a "wonder" own goal in a 2004-05 FA Cup defeat to Burnley, stumbling into an accidentally brilliant left-footed roulette spin move, before his heroic goal-line clearance helped Liverpool complete a legendary Champions League final comeback against AC Milan.

Traore has since forged a respectable coaching career, most recently accepting a position with AS Monaco after his charitable work in creating opportunities for young soccer players in his ancestral home of West Africa.

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The towering 6-foot-3 defender was born in Saint-Ouen-sur-Seine, a Parisian suburb located just over four miles outside the City of Light, and was plucked by Liverpool from Ligue 2 side Laval at just 19 years old. Traore played a limited role in his first few seasons at Anfield, relegated to the reserve side during manager Gérard Houllier's final season. He reportedly considered a switch to cross-town rivals Everton, but was convinced to stay by new boss Rafa Benitez before the 2004-05 campaign.

This legendary season in Liverpool history saw Traore find his most consistent form on Merseyside, making 41 total appearances across all competitions. Traore was just 23 when he made his now-infamous error, but told The Athletic last year that the sage wisdom of Jamie Carragher helped him navigate the embarrassing incident.

“The one who helped me a lot to cope with that situation was Jamie Carragher,” Traore said. “The next day I was in the locker room and you know when you sit by yourself… different things went through my head and he just came and sat next to me and said, ‘It’s all right man, that’s nothing. I did worse than you.’

Traore helped Liverpool win the 2005 Champions League trophy
Traore helped Liverpool win the 2005 Champions League trophy -Credit:Getty Images

“He told me he’d scored two own goals at home against Manchester United (in 1999) and that as a defender you will score some own goals — that’s part of your career. But now it’s about how you react in the next game because people will put pressure on you and you need to respond. Those few words helped me to cope with it.”

Traore quickly proved surplus to requirements at Anfield, however, making just 15 league appearances the following year before being sold to Premier League rivals Charlton Athletic. He played his final season in the English top flight in 2007-08 with Portsmouth, winning a second FA cup despite making just three league appearances, and returned back to the French league.

His homecoming provided a brief career renaissance, playing 29 times for Monaco as the city-state club earned an eight-place league finish in 2009-10, and finished out his playing career with two MLS seasons in Seattle. Traore began his coaching career in Cascadia, spending five years as an assistant with the Sounders, before assuming the head coaching role at Right to Dream Academy in Ghana.

The French-born player represented his birth nation at youth level and, early in his career, spurned callups from his father's home country of Mali in hopes of playing for Les Bleus. Traore would ultimately make six international appearances for the West African nation and led one of the region's premier academy setups — Right to Dream has graduated 157 players into professional soccer since 2007 — before returning to Monaco last month.