Mahamadou Diarra is a Malian footballer who plays as a defensive midfielder for Fulham and the Mali national team, for whom he is captain. Diarra started his career with Greek side OFI Crete. He played for French club Lyon from 2002 until 2006 and formed a successful midfield partnership with Michael Essien. He won four Ligue 1 titles during his time at Lyon. Diarra moved to Real Madrid on 22 August for a fee of €26 million. Diarra statistics are quite impressive. He played in 33 of Madrid's 38 matches, scoring three times. Diarra played a pivotal role in the 2007–08 title defence under new coach Bernd Schuster, and he established himself in the first-choice defensive midfielder profile. Diarra returned to French football and signed with AS Monaco on 27 January 2011. Diarra signed for Premier League team Fulham on 26 February 2012 . He scored his first goal for Fulham against Bolton Wanderers on 7 April 2012. Diarra first represented Mali at youth level. He was in the squad that took third place at the 1999 FIFA World Youth Championship in Nigeria. He won the award for Best Young Player at the 2002 African Cup of Nations.