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The 31-year-old was expected to be part of head coach Patrice Carteron's 23-man squad for the tournament which kicks off in South Africa on January 19th, but he now misses out

Fulham midfielder Mahamadou Diarra has been ruled out of representing Mali at the African Cup of Nations after being sidelined by a knee injury.

The former Real Madrid player has been struggling with injuries all campaign so far and has made just eight league appearances to date and he hasn’t featured for Fulham since the 3-0 home loss to Tottenham Hotspur at the start of December.

With the Cottagers domestic form seeing them drop down to 13th in the table, Diarra has chosen to miss the competition and recover rather than look to add to his 64 caps at international level next month at the tournament which begins on January 19th in South Africa.

"After considering the advice of the Fulham medical team, Mali have reviewed the player and Diarra will return to the Club to continue his rehabilitation with the Whites rather than participate in the tournament in South Africa," Fulham released in a statement.

The 31-year-old initially moved to Craven Cottage last season on a short-term contract until the end of the campaign after arriving in February, but was rewarded with a new one-year deal back in May.

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