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Get to Know Amad Diallo, an Illegal Immigrant Turned Man United Hero: Salary, Parents, and More

Get to Know Amad Diallo, an Illegal Immigrant Turned Man United Hero: Salary, Parents, and More

Amad Diallo scripted himself into Manchester United folklore by scoring the winner in the 4-3 win over Liverpool in the FA Cup quarter-final. Now even if he doesn’t score ever again for the Red Devils, he’ll be remembered by many fans for this feat itself.

The possibility of a 5 ft 8’ winger like Diallo scoring the winning goal against Liverpool probably wasn’t in any scriptwriter’s notebooks. Before the game, the Red Devils were not at all favoured to win it. Amad, however, had other ideas – taking full advantage of his opportunity to score a memorable goal.

The 21-year-old winger, to his credit, has had to work extremely hard to get to this point of his life. Born in the economic capital of Ivory Coast, Abidjan, he moved to Italy at the age of eight. However, it’s still not known exactly who Amad Diallo’s real parents are because he allegedly illegally immigrated to Italy.  

In 2020, the Italian Football Federation accused Hamed Traore (the man posing as his dad who still lives in Abidjan) of forging documents that allowed Amad and his alleged brother (Hamad Traore) to enter the country illegally. Traore and his ‘wife’ and Amad’s posing ‘mother’ Marina Teher were accused of illegally bringing the children to the country.

Amad Diallo's alleged father

But Hamad Traore insisted to The Athletic that he did not illegally traffick Amad and afforded him a happy life in Italy, saying: “Look at Amad, there is a big difference. He went to Italy, where he had a good school education. He ate good food and trained all of the time. He was taken care of. We tried to help a kid who dreamed of earning a living.”

Amad eventually had to settle to pay a fine of £41,000 for the entire ordeal, but avoided a jail sentence. He also changed his surname from ‘Traore’ to ‘Diallo’ after joining Manchester United.

Unknowing to illegal immigration at the age of eight, Diallo had arrived in Parma in 2010. He started kicking the football soon after, joining Boca Barco’s youth academy in 2014. It only took a year before Serie A side Atalanta took notice of his qualities and roped him into their academy.  

He continued to grow in stature and reputation at Atalanta. The winger earned the reputation of being a ‘featherweight’ and earning praise for his low centre of gravity. Amad had been known for his ‘Usain Bolt’ running style and quickness at Atalanta, something he proved with the lung-bursting run before scoring against Liverpool.

Amad Diallo at Atalanta

It only took Amad four appearances with the Atalatna senior team before Manchester United came calling in 2020. They had extensively tracked Diallo, who earned a reputation as ‘African Messi’ at the youth level.

Ultimately, the Red Devils paid an initial £21 million fee that could reach £34 million with potential add-ons for a player with little top-level experience. Amad Diallo signed a five-year contract with Man United alongside close to £29,000 per week salary. His agents, the AMS agent group (which also represents Yves Bissouma) might want to renegotiate the financial terms after his recent heroics.

The transition from the quiet life at Atalanta to the blockbuster one at Manchester United hit Amad hard. He eventually joined the Red Devils in January 2021 and this change of scenery was hard to take in. In his debut season, he only made four appearances. But he also scored his first Manchester United goal – a glancing header against AC Milan in the UEFA Europa League. He wouldn’t score again at Old Trafford for nearly three years.

United realized that Amad’s inexperience and physical weaknesses made him an ill-fit for the Premier League. So in January 2022, he was loaned to Rangers for the rest of the 2021/22 season. He made 13 appearances for the Scottish side, scoring three goals and winning the Scottish Cup. Rangers did not want him back, so he was again loaned out to Sunderland for the 2022//23 season.

It was at Sunderland that the winger really started to thrive. He excelled in that right-winger role, his natural position, and also played centrally as a no.10 or second striker. Amad became a beloved loanee among the Black Cats fanatics, scoring 14 goals and providing four assists. Not just that, but the 21-year-old also won the PFA Championship Fans’ Player of the Year – an indication of how bedazzled fans were by his performances.

He also bagged the Sunderland Young Player of the Year award. The then-Sunderland manager Tony Mowbray couldn’t stop praising him and remarked: “He’s an amazing footballer. The game is so easy for him, individually, he is superb. I don’t really know Amad to know what motivates him. He loves football and wants to play, That’s what makes him so good.”

Erik ten Hag clearly took notice of this because he decided to keep Amad in his squad for the 23/24 season. Unfortunately for Amad, another stumbling block arrived in the form of an awful knee injury he picked up against Real Madrid in the pre-season tour of the USA. He was ruled out for many months and only returned at the turn of 2023.

Because of lack of match fitness or sharpness, Ten Hag only sporadically used him – while getting the winger up-to-date in training drills. However, the 21-year-old kept the fire ignited in his belly to showcase his talents when it mattered the most. He produced a memorable super-sub display against United’s greatest rivals and is likely to get many more minutes going forward.

But Amad credits his loan spells, especially the Sunderland one, for helping give him the experience in succeed in these matches. He told The Athletic: “It was important for me to go on loan to get more confidence and experience, so now I am at Manchester United, I am very happy to stay here and every game for me is like a Champions League final. It was my dream to play for Manchester United. I was in Sunderland last season and I came here to wait for my chance.”

Ivorian Amad Diallo wears the no.16 shirt at Manchester United, is yet to actually start a match for his team this season. But his recent heroics against Liverpool could have a significant impact on his FC 24 ratings. Diallo is currently rated at 74 in the game with an 85-pace attribute. In Football Manager 24, Diallo’s rated at 64 with a maximum potent of 78.

Amad Diallo has named the now-estranged Paul Pogba as his footballing idol. He had played with the Frenchman at Manchester United. But if he really wants to make himself as popular (or as technically good) as Pogba and become a legend at Old Trafford, the 21-year-old must take confidence from his heroics against Liverpool and keep producing such memorable moments.