The centre-back has been brought in as a mid-season replacement for Khassa Camara .

NorthEast United completed the signing of 35-year-old defender Zakaria Diallo on a short-term deal as reported earlier by Khel Now. The French-Senegalese defender made his debut in a 1-1 draw against defending champions Mumbai City FC on the eve of India’s 73rd Republic Day.

Diallo has played the majority of his career on French soil and this will be his first time in Indian football. He looked good on his debut for the Highlanders and will want to carry forward the same, as NorthEast look to end the season on a high.

On that note, Khel Now takes a look on Zakaria Diallo’s profile as a player and what he brings to the table.

Past Experience

As mentioned earlier, Zakaria Diallo has played the majority of his football in France. He started his youth career with AS Treauville-Deauville before making a switch to Le Havre’s reserve side. Diallo began his professional career with Beauvais in 2010. He then moved to Belgian top flight side Sporting Charleroi, before returning back to Ligue 1 outfit Dijon in 2011.

Diallo then signed for another French side Ajaccio before making a big move to the then Ligue 2 side Brest in 2017. After spending around eight years in France, Diallo made a move to the Major League Soccer (MLS). He signed for Montreal Impact in 2018 and played 24 matches for the Canadian side, after which the defender joined RC Lens.

He played a crucial part in Lens’ journey back to the top division of French football, the Ligue 1. Despite his heroics, Diallo failed to get enough game-time in Ligue 1 and therefore opted for a change in scenery. He put pen to paper with Kuwaiti side Al Shabab in the beginning of the 2021-22 season. But, due to a lack of opportunities, Diallo made his way out and signed for the Highlanders.

Club Career Stats

Zakaria Diallo made 24 appearances for Montreal Impact (Courtesy: MLS)

Zakaria Diallo played 22 games and managed to score a goal for Beauvais in the third tier of French football. He also has the experience of playing six games in the Jupiler Pro League for Sporting Charleroi. The defender has made 160 appearances, while scoring eight goals and providing five assists in Ligue 2 for Dijon, Ajaccio, Brest and RC Lens.

He was solid for RC Lens in the 2019-20 season and helped them gain promotion with 13 clean-sheets. During his time in the MLS, Zakaria Diallo made 24 appearances, scored three goals and created two for Montreal Impact. Moreover, he also has three Ligue 1 appearances for Dijon under his belt.

Type of Player

Zakaria Diallo is a decent ball-playing centre-back who is never hesitant to move forward with the ball. He is serious-minded and a no-nonsense defender, with a strong physical presence. Diallo is 6’4 tall and has goalscoring instincts, which makes him a major aerial threat.

He can have a say while both attacking and defending set-pieces for his side. Diallo is a right-footed centre-back and can play on either side of the centre-back pairing. Moreover, he is also a keen dribbler and possesses a very good passing accuracy.

How the player fits in manager’s plans

Zakaria Diallo has been brought in as a mid-season replacement for club captain Khassa Camara. He brings in much-needed solidity for NorthEast United’s leaky defence. He was one of the brightest sparks for the Highlanders on his debut against the defending champions. Diallo could very well be the missing piece of the puzzle for Khalid Jamil’s side, as they continue their fight for pride.

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