Ramadan Tales E8: When Mido was crowned Duke of Amsterdam
He began at his boyhood and beloved club Zamalek SC, breaking into the first team in 1999 despite being only 16 at the time. Mido made his league debut in the Egyptian Premier League in a 0-0 draw against El Qanah. The youngster went on to prove himself in the second match, and although Zamalek would officially lose the league that round, Mido score 2 goals against Aluminium Nagaa’ Hammadi to complete a 3-2 comeback. Mido went on to play 2 more matches scoring only one goal to end his tally at 3 goals in 4 matches and thus ending his first stint at Zamalek.
In 2000 Mido moved to Belgian club Gent after being discovered by a Belgian scout. He made his European debut against his future club Ajax, who defeated his side 6-0. In his first and only season in Gent Mido scored 11 goals in 21 matches and helped the club qualify for the UEFA Intertoto Cup after finishing fifth in the league. Mido won “Discovery of the Year” and the “Belgian Ebony Shoe”, which recognizes the best African player in the Belgian First Division.
After his success at Gent, Mido drew European eyes on him. Ajax would then buy the 18-year old striker for three million British pounds, making him the most expensive Egyptian at the time.
“Everyone is impressed with him. The scouts, the technical staff, everyone who have seen him play thinks he is a great talent.” said Ajax technical director at the time Loe Beenhakar.
“He is only 18 years old and is already in the A-selection of the Egyptian national team, where he is also an important player,” he added.
Despite scoring twice in his first match against Sparta Rotterdam, the first half of his debut season wasn’t very successful, seeing as he started in only 6 out of 21 matches. However, by the end of the season Mido proved his worth after scoring 9 goals in 8 matches. Finishing his first season with 12 goals to his name, he ended up winning with league and cup double.
Mido had had many clashes with manager Ronald Koeman; one of them was in 2001 and Koeman punished him by sitting him out of the game against Feyenoord. In the beginning of the 2002/2003 season Mido revealed that he wanted to leave Ajax after Koeman had subbed him off after only 32 minutes against Groningen. The player said that he was tired and was carrying a slight injury but the manager criticized him saying that he lacked creativity and didn’t give 100%. However, shortly after, Mido apologized to Koeman and Leo Beenhakar saying that he was irresponsible and inconsiderate and was fined and suspended against Olympique Lyon in the Champions League.
Mido was put in some great performances during the first half of his second season at Ajax, scoring 8 goals (more than any other Ajax player). However, things started to fall apart in the second leg of the season. Mido clashed with Koeman yet again later after scoring for in the team’s 6-1 victory against Wellim II. Koeman had commented negatively on the player’s performance against Roda in the KNVB Cup and he was an unused substitute against Feyenoord.
Mido wasn’t done with his troubles as his clash with Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the locker room was his final act at the club. At the time, Mido was netting goals freely for Ajax and keeping his Swedish counterpart out of the first team. As was later recalled by Ronald Koeman, this state of affairs once led to a dressing room bust-up that didn’t end in the shaking of hands, but with Mido grabbing a pair of scissors and throwing them at Zlatan’s head in a bout of rage.
“I went over and gave him a smack, but 10 minutes later we left with our arms around each other,” Ibrahimovic later wrote in his autobiography, I Am Zlatan. “Much later I discovered our team manager had kept those scissors as a souvenir, to show his kids.” Ibrahimovic added.
Mido was relegated to the reserves team for his actions, which later led to interests from Seria A clubs Juventus and Lazio. Mido went on to join Celta Vigo on loan the following season and was sold for 12 million euros to French Club Marsille to play alongside Ivorian Didier Drogba in 2003/04.
Mido subsequently moved to more illustrious clubs such as Roma and Tottenham Hotspur. His attitude and weight problems had him move a lot; he later moved to Middlesbrough from Tottenham for 6 million pounds and was loaned to Wigan, Zamalek, West Ham and once again Ajax. He returned to Zamalek signing a 3 and half year contract in 2011 but moved the year after to Championship side Barnsley, before retiring in June 2013 at just 30 years of age.
- Episode 7 – The 2007 Egypt Cup Final
- Episode 6 – Redefining success – Al Ahly 2004-2009
- Episode 5 – The Fasting and the Furious – Egypt’s Historic 1998 AFCON
- Episode 4 – Emmanuel Amuneke – From Zamalek to Barcelona
- Episode 3 – Al Ahly defy odds against European giants Real Madrid, Roma
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