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Luciano Spalletti: I’m excited to face Martin Jol
AS Roma manager Luciano Spalletti has praised Al Ahly and Martin Jol ahead of the friendly games between the two sides on Friday, in the United Arab Emirates.
Al Ahly coach Martin Jol, director of football Abdel-Aziz Abdel-Shafy and club captain Hossam Ghaly attended a press conference ahead of the match, with Mohamed Salah and Luciano Spalletti representing AS Roma.
“I’d like to thank the organisers of this event which will allow us to gauge the level of another brand of football,” Spalletti told reporters in a pre-match press conference.
“Whether it is a friendly game or an official one, we are keen to show our best performance.
“We’ll test ourselves against the tactical ability of their coach Martin Jol and players like Hossam Ghaly. We’re sure matches like these can allow you to improve.”
“We had an amazing season, managing to show our strong elements. The players have done their best all season.
“We’re missing a few players who are away on international duty, however we have Mohamed Salah with us who wanted to once again play a side from his homeland, champions Al Ahly. We’re ready to experience and learn from the ability of this team,” he added.
When asked whether AS Roma would sign more Egyptian players Spalletti replied, “We can sign 4 or 5 players if they’re like Mohamed Salah.”
Mohamed Salah expressed his excitement over facing Al Ahly, insisting that both teams will gain many benefits from the game.
“I’m very delightful to play against Al Ahly, every player here in the club knows how big Al Ahly are in Africa. I hope they can find the game stimulating; they still have to continue their season and this could make them more focused,” the winger said.
“I have a very good relationship with Totti, he’s a club legend and has been so important for us this season; he’s respected by everyone in the club,” Salah added.
Martin Jol and Hossam Ghaly have expressed their delight with the game, which underlines the international significance of the team.
“I am very delighted to face a team like Roma and playing against Spalletti makes me even more excited. We have a very crowded schedule but the players’ opinion was enough for me to accept the friendly offer,” Jol explained.
“Matches like these show the importance of Al Ahly in Africa, being number one in the continent. We have faced big European clubs such as Real Madrid,” Ghaly explained.
“We are very honored to play against Mohamed Salah, but we have to stop him. We shouldn’t let him show his abilities against us,” Ghaly added.
Al Ahly’s last match against Roma ended in a 3-0 win to the Giallorossi, in 2008.