Standing at 6ft 5in Guinean footballer and former Celtic centre back was an imposing presence. He was also slightly off his rocker, if former Celtic team mate Stephen McManus is to be believed. The current Motherwell manager was being interviewed on Open Goal by Si Ferry and disclosed the time that the big defender completely lost the rag in the dressing room after a game against Hearts:
Still to this day I have never seen anybody lose the plot the way Bobo did in a dressing room. Big Sutty [Chris Sutton], Thommo [Alan Thompson], Big Magnus [Hedman]. I think they all tried to control him.
I think the first-team played Hearts at home and they lost the game – it was the year we went to Ibrox – it was Helicopter Sunday, that campaign. I remember after the game Stan Petrov coming in and giving Bobo absolute pelters. ‘It was your fault we lost the game’.
I think we were 1-0 up and lost the game 2-1 or 3-2. And Big Bobo just absolutely went berserk.
Thommo jumped in the locker to get out of the way of him. He flung Sutty off the treatment table, Big Rab [Douglas], he did the same, absolute units. And Big Bobo was losing the plot. So you wouldn’t have messed with Bobo, definitely not.
A cautionary tale.
You can watch McManus tell the story around the 17 minute mark:
Apart from that anecdote McManus spoke warmly of Balde, complimenting his aerial ability he couldn't be beat in the air and that he always stuck up for the defenders in the dressing room. Balde made 233 appearances for Celtic between 2000 and 2009, winning five SPL titles, three Scottish Cups and two Scottish League Cups, so I guess you could say that there was a method to his madness.