Traore: I've proved myself
By Patrick Haond. Last Updated: January 1, 1970 1:00am
Liverpool's Djimi Traore is delighted at the prospect of playing in the UEFA Champions League final on Wednesday.
The 25-year-old has come through a difficult period at Anfield to make the left back position his own.
Now, Traore is ready to start for Liverpool against Milan on Wednesday in Istanbul and he feels it justifies his decision to move to England.
"When I left France at 19-years-old for Liverpool, a lot of people said I made a mistake," he explained.
"But on Wednesday I will play the Champions League final! That is pride.
"Gerard Houllier signed me at Liverpool in 1999, when I was completely unknown. I owe him a lot.
"This season, Rafael Benitez has trusted me, and I play. That proves I don't need any string pulling to make a name for myself.
"When I came here, I felt some hesitation towards me. People said 'He is a Frenchman like Houllier. So he will play.'
"I had to make twice as much effort as the other players just to be accepted."
Traore is delighted with the team spirit at Anfield.
"On an individual level, we are less strong than a lot of players of other teams," he continued.
"We don't have so many bombastic names as other great European teams either.
"But we are still here, despite everything. Because there is a soul at Liverpool.
"We are more closely-knit than all our adversaries. There is also a life between us out off the pitch."