Friday,20 July, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1238, (19 - 25 March 2015)
Friday,20 July, 2018
Issue 1238, (19 - 25 March 2015)

Ahram Weekly

When Mido was slapped in the face

In his tell-all book, Zlatan Ibrahamovic speaks about his old Egyptian friend Ahmed ‘Mido’ Hossam and their rise in Ajax. Mohamed Abdel-Razek reviews one intriguing chapter

Mido and Zlatan
Mido and Zlatan
Al-Ahram Weekly

Mido and Zlatan. Every football fan knows they were together at Ajax back in 2001. Unlike any rising centre forwards competing for a spot on Ronald Koeman’s score sheet, they didn’t give it much of their time. As a tag team, they were busy searching for trouble on and off the pitch.

Zlatan, who currently plays for French club Paris Saint-Germain and the Swedish national team for which he is captain, is one of the best finishers in the game and is regarded to be one of the best footballers of his generation. And has a temper to match.

Mido is one of Egypt’s most famous football imports, having played in some of Europe’s biggest clubs, including Ajax, Roma, Marseilles, Celta Vigo, and Tottenham. And has a temper to match. 

Zlatan narrated in his bibliography I AM ZLATAN IBRAHIMOVIC a story which ended up by him giving his “best friend” Mido a smack in the face. It sounds “striking” if you know Mido’s history. He spent most of his football career shouting and fighting with everyone in his way, even his coaches.

It all started in 2001, when the Dutch giants Ajax bought three new talents to strengthen their squad: Mido from KK Ghent, Zlatan from Malmo FF, and the Brazilian Maxwell from Cruzeiro. Yes, they were all in one package, but Zlatan says Maxwell was different, meaning that he was too nice. But for the double trouble, Mido and Ibra, both had a reputation for being out of control, something the Dutch media already knew from day one. “I am sure many of the media back then imagined me and Mido were out on the town, partying,” Zlatan wrote.     

According to Zlatan, Mido and Maxwell were his best friends, spending most of their time together. Ibra loved their sense of humour, a far cry from the other Dutch players whom he found somewhat arrogant. Apart from the nice guy Maxwell, something clicked between Mido and Zlatan. Ibra says, “Mido was like me, only worse”. Mido and Ibra backed each other when one of them decided to get into trouble. Like the Spy Barr incident, when Zlatan was reported for sexual assault, Mido went out and spoke on Ibra’s behalf, proving him innocent at the end.

Zlatan wore the No 9 shirt at that time, the legendary kit of Marco Van Basten. However, it still kept him on the bench for the regular start-ups Mido and the Greek Nikos Machlas. Carrying such an important number on his back, Ibra had a lot of pressure from the fans who expected him to deliver. “People were saying that I was just the No 3 centre forward after Mido and Machlas,” said Ibra.

Zlatan thought the time of his departure was closing, but for Mido, his friend, he had a different scenario for him. The hot headed Mido was in great form on the pitch in seasons 2002-2003, after winning the League and Cup double with Ajax in 2001, catching the eyes of big clubs such as Juventus. Yet, that didn’t help calm Mido off the pitch, where he kept on breaking the rules. Unluckily, Mido clashed with his coach Koeman, who administered all kinds of punishment, from fining to consigning him to the youth team.

Such an attitude from the Egyptian opened the door for Zlatan to start some play time in Koeman’s starting eleven.

Playing against their No 1 rivals, Eindhoven, Mido was benched throughout the game by Koeman. The bad boy picked himself up and went to his team’s locker room and called all his teammates, including Zlatan “you’re all miserable c…”

Fire erupted when the players started throwing insults at each other. Zlatan hit back, telling Mido “if anybody was a c… it’s you”.

Out of the blue, Mido picked up the nearest object, three pairs of scissors resting on the bench, and threw them all at Zlatan. The scissors whistled past Ibra’s head and hit the concrete wall, making a crack in it.

Zlatan later described Mido’s act as “completely nuts”. But there was more. Straight away, Zlatan rushed straight at Mido, giving him a smack on the face.

But according to Ibra, 10 minutes later they left with their arms around each other.

The Ajax team manager kept those pair of scissors as a memento of the incident. That was probably the last attack on Ibra and also the last smack Mido would get. Who would dare mess with those two bad boys of football?

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