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  • Writer's pictureDag Jenkins

Ousmane Dabo

Ousmane Dabo was born in Laval, on February 8, 1977. His mother is French and his father Senegalese, so he holds both passports. His father Moussa played for Laval, amongst other clubs, in the 1970's.


Ousmane started playing football for local Forcé and then in 1985 moved to Laval's academy. He stayed five years and then joined Rennes youth sector.


In 1995 he made his debut with the "Rouges et Noirs" in the French top flight (then still Division 1) and over the following three seasons played 45 games and scored 2 goals. The Bretons finished 8th, 16th and 14th.


In August 1998 he made the big step to Inter in serie A. The Nerazzurri were initially coached by Gigi Simoni and then from the 12th fixture by Mircea Lucescu, more coaches followed, but Dabo by then had already left. He only stayed until January, playing 5 league games and 3 in the Coppa Italia. For the record Inter finished 8th.


In January 1999 he joined Vicenza on loan. The "Berici" were struggling in Serie A under Franco Colomba, who was replaced in February by future Lazio Edy Reja. The Biancorossi failed to avoid relegation. Dabo played 13 league games, putting in good performances and earned himself a return to Inter.


His second spell at Inter was again short lived. The manager was Marcello Lippi and Dabo played 8 league games and 2 in Coppa Italia before leaving in January and signing for Parma (who now co-owned him with Inter).


At Parma things went well. Under manager Alberto Malesani the Ducali had already won the Italian Supercoppa beating Milan 2-1 at the Meazza. From his arrival Dabo played 16 league games plus a playoff and a game in the UEFA Cup. The Parmigiani finished joint 5th with Inter but then lost the CL playoff against the Nerazzurri 1-3. At Parma he played alongside past and future Lazio players Marco Di Vaio, Diego Fuser, Dino Baggio and Hernan Crespo.


In August 2000 he returned to France on loan and joined Monaco. The club from Monte Carlo were coached by Claude Puel and Dabo played 16 league games, 2 in the domestic cups with 1 goal and 4 games in the Champions League. In January however he was back in Italy. Monaco eventually finished 11th.


In January 2001 he returned to Vicenza on loan. Reja was still there as manager and Dabo played 17 league games with 1 goal (Milan in a 2-0 win). Unfortunately, the "Lane" were relegated with a 16th place finish.


In 2001 he was sold to Atalanta. The manager was Giovanni Vavassori and the "Dea" finished 9th in Serie A. Dabo played 21 league games and 3 in the Coppa Italia. The following year Vavassori stayed on but in April was replaced by Giancarlo Finardi and the "Orobici" struggled and were relegated. Their best results were beating Roma twice and a 3-3 away draw to Milan. Dabo played 31 league games with 4 goals (Modena, Brescia, Modena again and Chieco) and 2 in the relegation playoffs (lost to Reggina 1-2 on aggregate) plus 1 in the Coppa Italia. In Bergamo he played alongside Lazio connections Luciano Zauri and Rolando Bianchi.


In 2003 Dabo joined Lazio. The Roman club were starting to struggle financially but still had some good players: Angelo Peruzzi, Jaap Stam, Sinisa Mihajlovic, Dejan Stankovic, Claudio López just to mention a few and the manager was Roberto Mancini. The Biancocelesti had a decent Serie A campaign finishing 6th but triumphed in the Coppa Italia defeating Juventus 4-2 on aggregate. Dabo played 19 league games, 4 in Coppa Italia and 1 in the Champions League.


The following year was a difficult one. New owner Claudio Lotito had taken over a club full of debts and the squad changed drastically. The new manager was Domenico Caso but he was replaced by Giuseppe Papadopulo in January. Lazio eventually avoided relegation and also won an epic derby 3-1 with Di Canio scoring again, 16 years after his first derby goal as a young lad. Dabo had a positive season with 29 league games with 1 goal (Fiorentina), 6 in the Coppa Italia plus the Supercoppa (lost 0-3 to Milan).


The 2005-06 season saw the arrival of Delio Rossi and Lazio had a better season on the pitch finishing 6th. Unfortunately, they were then docked 30 points for their alleged involvement in the Calciopoli scandal so were demoted to 16th place. Dabo played 31 league games with 2 goals (Empoli, Siena) and 4 games in the Coppa Italia.


In 2006-07 Dabo joined Manchester City but this was before the days of champagne and roses. The manager was Stuart "Psycho" Pearce and the Citizens finished 14th with Dabo playing 13 league games and 4 in the FA Cup. He played with former Lazio Bernardo Corradi. The following season former Lazio Sven-Goran Eriksson took over and Felipe Caicedo arrived, but Dabo only played 1 game, in the League Cup, before returning to Lazio in January 2008. The Mancunian Sky Blues then finished 9th under the Swede.


Back at Lazio Dabo found manager Delio Rossi, who had taken over in 2005. From his arrival in January Dabo played 13 league games and 2 in the Coppa Italia. Lazio finished 12th, were knocked out in the group stage in CL (Real Madrid 2-2, 1-3, Werder Bremen 2-1, 1-2 and Olympiakos 1-1, 1-2) and reached the semi-finals of the Coppa Italia (Inter 0-2 on aggregate). Lazio did get the satisfaction of beating Roma 3-2 in March with a 92nd minute winner.


In 2008-09 Lazio finished 10th again winning the return derby this time 4-2. Dabo played 21 league games with 1 goal (Genoa). It was in Coppa Italia that Lazio and Dabo lived their finest hour. The Biancocelesti eliminated Benevento 5-1, Atalanta 2-0, Milan 2-1, Torino 3-1 and Juventus 4-2 on aggregate to set up a final against Sampdoria. The game ended up 1-1 and went to penalties with Dabo scoring the last spot kick to give Lazio a 7-6 victory and Cup glory. His second domestic cup with the "Aquile".


Official SS Lazio photo

The following year, with Delio Rossi gone, Davide Ballardini arrived. The season started off in the best way possible for Lazio and Dabo. The Biancocelesti beat José Mourinho's Triplete winning Inter in the Italian Supercoppa played in Beijing. Lazio won 2-1 with goals by Francelino Matuzalém and Tommaso Rocchi. The season then went downhill and Ballardini was sacked in February and replaced by Edy Reja with Lazio struggling and already out of the Europa League. They picked up and finished 12th with Dabo playing 12 league games, 1 in Coppa Italia and 4 in the Europa League. This was his last season with Lazio.


In February 2011 he joined the New England Revolution in the U.S Major League but due to injuries only played 3 games. He then retired at 34.


At international level he earned 3 caps for France and won a Confederations Cup in 2003.


Since retiring he has been working in punditry for Sky Sport and Fox Sports.


On a curious note his cousin Bryan is also a professional footballer and his career has included spells in Italy for Fiorentina, SPAL and Benevento.


Ousmane Dabo was a central midfielder. At 1.84 and 84 kilos he was a solid presence in the centre of the park. The Frenchman was a hard player but clean. He was a good tackler, had playmaking skills and had a powerful shot which he probably could have taken more advantage of. He was not a quick player but had good positioning and technique which made up for it.


At Lazio he was very popular. He arrived in difficult times but always got stuck in and "sudato per la maglia" as they say here (literally sweated for the jersey). He had two successful spells, considering the enormous financial difficulties the club were going through. He played 138 games and scored 4 goals. He won 3 trophies, the Coppa Italia twice (2004, 2009) and the Super Coppa (2009). His winning penalty, along with Fernando Muslera's saves, will live forever in Lazio's history.


Lazio Career

Season

Toal games (goals)

Serie A

Coppa Italia

Champions League

Europa League

Super Coppa

2003-04

23

19

3

1

-

-

2004-05

37 (1)

29 (1)

1

-

6

1

2005-06

35 (2)

31 (2)

4

-

-

-

Jan-Jun 2008

15

13

2

-

-

-

2008-09

26 (1)

21 (1)

5

-

-

-

2009-10

17

12

1

-

3

1

Total

138 (4)

112 (4)

14

1

9

2

Sources


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