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6 Egyptians who made their mark in Europe

Ali Khaled looks at how Mohamed Salah and five of his countrymen have made an impact at European clubs

(This article was first published in April, 2018)

Mido

It shouldn’t be forgotten that during their overlapping stints at Ajax, Mido had a better strike rate than Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Having moved from Zamalek to Gent in Belgium and then the Dutch giants, Ahmed Hossam “Mido” was one of the hottest talents in Egyptian and Arab football. His better than one goal per game record in Holland saw interest from a clutch of European clubs over the next decade: whether on loan or on permanent basis, Mido played for Celta Vigo, Marseille, Roma, Tottenham, Middlesbrough, Wigan, and West Ham in one of the most nomadic careers by an Arab footballer yet. There were also two spells at Zamalek for the man who scored 20 goals in 51 internationals for his country.

 

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Mohamed Salah

There’s little to say about Salah that hasn’t been said over and over. Quite simply, he is now one of the world’s elite players, finally finding an ideal environment to showcase his talents under Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool. Player of the Year, Premier League top scorer and Champions League finalist, with the promise of much more to come. His spell at Chelsea might have been underwhelming, but in truth Salah has excelled everywhere that he was given genuine opportunities, at Basel, Fiorentina and Roma.

 

Mohamed Elneny

The first Egyptian to win an FA Cup medal, Elneny has become a vital member of Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal squad over the last several years. Joined the Gunners from Basel in Switzerland where he had played a season with Mohamed Salah, who was also his teammate at hometown club El Mokawloon. Part of the Egypt team that played at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Mohamed Zidan

Having never played in his native Egypt, Zidan took the brave and rare step to seek a career in Europe. After a successful trial at Akademisk Boldklub, he signed professional terms at only 18. The Egyptian then moved to Germany where he enjoyed successful spells at Werder Bremen, Mainz and Hamburg, before memorably winning two Bundesliga titles with Jürgen Klopp’s Borussia Dortmund in 2011 and 2012.

Hossam Ghaly

The midfielder started his career at Al Ahly in Egypt before heading to Holland where he spent three campaigns at Feyenoord. In 2006 Ghaly left the Eredivisie for the English Premier League were he played for a further three campaigns at Tottenham. Spent a solitary season (2013-14) at Belgian club Lierse before returning to the club where it all started, Al Ahly.

Hany Ramzy

The first Egyptian footballers to truly make an impact in European football, Hany Ramzy left Al Ahly for Neuchatel Xamax in 1990 and went on to become a favourite with the Swiss fans who nicknamed him “the rock”. Became the first Egyptian to play in the Bundesliga when he joined Werder Bremen in 1994, as well as the country’s most expensive export, before a seven-year spell at Kaiserslautern and solitary season at FC Saarbrücken in the German second tier.
Played 124 times for Egypt.

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