Ex-Sunderland AFC star El Hadji Diouf in rent row

Sunderland's Phil Bardsley (right) challenges former clubmate El-Hadji Diouf.

Sunderland's Phil Bardsley (right) challenges former clubmate El-Hadji Diouf.

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EX-Sunderland AFC star El Hadji Diouf has appeared in court in a row over rent at his former Northumberland home.

The forward has been taken to court by his previous landlords, who claimed he owed them £12,000 from his time living in the area.

Senegalese international Diouf had rented a house on the Darras Hall estate, Ponteland, in October 2008, leaving four months later after he thought the tenancy was about to expire.

But owners of the house, Walter and Lesley Zolnacz, say that the tenancy was for 11 months – ending in September that year.

Diouf paid £4,000 a month to rent the property. The owners claimed he failed to pay three instalments.

He asked for his £5,538 deposit back, but the Zolnaczs claimed he caused £2,877 of damage.

Now, Diouf has reached an agreement with his former landlords, with both parties deciding to settle out of court.

A hearing was due to take place at Newcastle County Court yesterday before the agreement was reached, with the settlement believed to be in the region of £25,000.

Speaking after the hearing, Diouf’s legal representative William Buck said: “Mr Diouf is content the matter has been resolved amicably and is happy with the outcome.”

A former neighbour of Diouf’s said: “We knew he lived next door but he didn’t live there for long and we didn’t really see much of him.”