Monday,16 July, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1258, (13 - 19 August 2015)
Monday,16 July, 2018
Issue 1258, (13 - 19 August 2015)

Ahram Weekly

Temporary slump?

Is it a streak of bad luck or has the talented Italian-Egyptian footballer lost his gift, asks Mohamed Abdel-Razek

Al-Ahram Weekly

Over the past four years, Stephan Karim Shaarawy, 23, was one of Europe’s sheer football genius. Rising with Genoa and awarded Serie B ‘Player of the Year’ with Padova, were enough to convince AC Milan to spot Shaarawy in 2011. It was a great opportunity for the attacking midfielder to play with such an impressive club at the age of just 19. Proving the Milan scouts right, Shaarawy showed-off his top-notch talents right from the start, to be named in 2012 as one of the best players of all time born after 1991 by Spanish newspaper Don Ballon. He also ranked 52nd in the British The Guardian’s list of best footballers in the world for 2012. Shaarawy’s name started to be the favourite chant for Milan’s fans, and since then every pitch in Europe has shown respect for the Egyptian-Italian bi-national.

Egyptians started hearing about Shaarawy’s talent, and since his father is Egyptian thought he should play for the Egyptian national team. But, unfortunately, they didn’t know that the bi-national started playing in the U-16 Italian national team since 2008, and in August 2012 played his first fixture on the Italian national team against England.

Despite proving he is worth playing for Milan, Shaarawy has not had much luck since his arrival to San-Siro, and the club has not won any titles since 2011 when they won the league and the super cup. Some could see it as Shaarawy bringing bad luck to San-Siro, but that would be unfair. Milan struggled to bring in big names since the departure of top players in recent years such as Kaka, Zlatan Ibrahamovic and Robinho.

The Rossoneri also found difficulties in finding a managerial mastermind who could bring the team back to life after Massimiliano Allegri. They tried Clarence Seedorf in 2014 followed by Filippo Inzaghi who finished 10th in the Serie A in 2015 before he was sacked. So it is definitely not Shaarawy’s fault, although last season he was prone to injury and stayed on the sidelines most of the season, appearing in only 20 matches with Milan – which didn’t help the team much.

This summer, the Milan board and Shaarawy agreed that he needs a fresh start away from San-Siro. The French Ligue 1 side AS Monaco-FC seemed the most interested to sign the youngster, who cost them EUR3 million in a one-year loan deal, with the ability of signing a permanent deal.     

“Form is temporary, but class is permanent” is a saying referring to swings in the performance of football players every season. This is partially true for calibre players in top European teams who have already proven their skills to the world, but have had a season of injuries or bad karma. However, a back slide can continue for some time and leave fans and observers wondering is this the end for this player? Unfortunately, this is happening too early in Shaarawy’s career and he needs to prove his talent to himself and the world. Only this will decide whether he will go back to the top tier of football in Europe or not.

This season, Shaarawy will be answering many questions on the pitch for the Milan board and fans who will watch him closely. Will he make Milan think they made the right decision for not selling him? Or will he make them wish Monaco asks for a permanent deal?

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