Sunday,17 December, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1246, (14 - 20 May 2015)
Sunday,17 December, 2017
Issue 1246, (14 - 20 May 2015)

Ahram Weekly

Egyptian Euros

To win a football league season is great but to win the Premier League is incredible. That’s what Mohamed Salah did although he’s not the first Egyptian to wear a crown in Europe. Ahmed Hamdi reports

zidan
zidan
Al-Ahram Weekly

If there’s one footballer who has earned bragging rights among all Egyptian players, past and present, it is Mohamed Salah, the loaned Chelsea player to Italy’s Fiorentina. Salah recently became the first Egyptian player to win the English Premier League, an unprecedented achievement never made by any Arab player.

However, winning a league title in Europe is not a new achievement for Salah, who had won the Swiss league twice while wearing Basel’s shirt, despite the difference and incomparability of the two leagues. The Egyptian wing and playmaker has now four European titles in his resume, including the English League Cup which Chelsea won in March, although he only represented Chelsea in three matches in their league campaign.

Salah is not, however, the first Egyptian to win a league title in Europe. He is not even the first to win one of the top five leagues, although he is the first to win one of the top two. The first player to win a top league title in Europe, that is the German Bundesliga, was Mohamed Zidan.

The former Egypt international represented Borussia Dortmund in their league campaign of 2010-2011 in which they managed to overcome the Bavarian giants Bayern Munich. The number 10 back then celebrated with his son, then left the team soon after.

The Egyptian Shadow Striker, as Zidan was called, did not contribute much to Dortmund’s league campaign due to a long layoff because of injury. He played only 37 minutes in two matches he entered as a substitute.

Another player who was crowned champion with his team in a somewhat less powerful league but nevertheless recognized as strong enough was Mido, who won the Dutch Eredivisie with Ajax on two occasions. The first was in 2002, in which Mido was one of the team’s stars, and the second in 2011, in a failed attempt by the striker to return to his former form.

Ahmed Hassan, the former Egypt captain with the world’s most caps, has won a European league as well. He was crowned champion with the top Belgian club Anderlecht in 2006-2007. The player was one of the top stars in his team throughout the league campaign and contributed to the team’s success, scoring 11 goals, including a hat-trick.

Mohamed Al-Nenni has made the list of Egyptians who were crowned league champions in Europe. The 22-year-old won the Swiss Super League in 2013 and 2014, and is close to winning the third this year with Basel FC. Al-Nenni’s team is now 11 points ahead of their competition BSC Young Boys.

The midfielder has been a major player with his team, especially this season playing 23 matches out 31, and scoring two goals.

The last player who was also crowned league champion in Europe is Amir Azmi Megahed. The defender won the Cyprus league in 2007, playing for Famagusta FC. Although the Cyprus league is one of the weakest in Europe, it still counts.

Salah celebrated his league win with a tweet: “A league and a cup in one season”, with an emoticon of a smiley with hearts popping out of its eyes. Chelsea’s coach Jose Mourinho has recognised the contributions of Salah and his former teammate who was loaned out as well, Andre Schurrle, to the team in the league campaign. “For me, if we win the title, everyone is a champion,” Mourinho said, according to The Daily Mail. “Mohamed Salah and Andre Schurrle are not here. They are champions, champions for sure.”

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