FEATURE | A look back at Abdallah El-Said’s career with Al Ahly
It’s never easy seeing a player sign for an eternal rival, but Abdallah El-Said’s performances for Al Ahly should be remembered in midst of transfer saga.
Football rivalries around the world are an opportunity for fans to support their team against their most bitter rivals. Milan vs Inter, Arsenal vs Spurs, Manchester United vs Liverpool, Barcelona vs Real Madrid, Boca Juniors vs River Plate, Celtics vs Rangers, and Al Ahly vs Zamalek are just a few from around the world. In recent times with football becoming a more business investment for some, players have also become a part of the rivalry.
Abdallah El-Said has enjoyed a fruitful career with Al Ahly. A career that has been filled with goals, assists, and most importantly, titles. Though Al Ahly fans’ disappointment with the recent details of his transfer saga is understood, El-Said should be remembered for his consistent contributions for the Red Devils.
El-Said joined Al Ahly in September 2011 from Ismaily, once again marred by rumors of him moving to Zamalek instead. He quickly came into the side making his debut on September 21 as a 72nd minute replacement for Mohamed Abou-Treika in Al Ahly’s 1-0 loss against ENPPI in the Egypt Cup round of 16. Yet, his 18 minute debut was by no means an indication of what he would accomplish with the Red Devils.
In the 15 games that were played in the 2011/12 campaign before the tragic Port-Said incident, Abdallah scored four goals including the winner against his former side Ismaily. With the league cancelled, Al Ahly’s focus turned to the CAF Champions League and El-Said once again made an impact, albeit a small one, in his maiden season. Not only did he assist Abou-Treika in the lone goal against Zamalek in the second match of the group stages, but he also provided another two in the thrilling 3-3 draw with Sunshine Stars in the first leg of the semi-finals.
It was easy to see the connection between Abou-Treika and El-Said, and it was highlighted even more in the 2013 CAF Champions League season. One of Abou-Treika’s most memorable goals and his last scored for Al Ahly came in the final against Orlando Pirates. A moment no one could ever forget as El-Said assisted the Prince of Hearts who slotted from close range to put Al Ahly just 36 minutes away from winning the title. Till now, the 2013 title is Al Ahly’s last Champions League title.
But with the beginning of the new season, Al Ahly found themselves in a new era without their legend. With Abou-Treika retired, El-Said made a more permanent move from winger to his favorite position, central attacking midfielder. He became Al Ahly’s main man down the middle and his new position gave life to his performances. In the 2013/14 league campaign alone, El-Said scored nine goals in just 17 appearances. He was third top scorer in the league that season, despite playing as a midfielder and being injured for a few games.
Though his performances were clinical before, El-Said’s last two-and-a-half seasons with the Red Devils have been nothing but remarkable for a midfielder. In the 2015/16 league campaign, he scored 11 goals and provided four assists in 30 matches. The season after, El-Said scored 10 goals, but provided nine assists in 28 matches.
His performances this season, however, have been on another level. Though he may not be playing at 100% every match, he somehow still finds a way to contribute. In just 21 games this league campaign, El-Said has scored 10 goals and assisted a whopping 11 goals. But what is of interest is his consistency. Starting from the match against Ismaily on November 22, 2017 to the match against Arab Contractors on February 12, 2018, Abdallah played 17 games. In only one match of those 17 did he not contribute to a goal, a key part to Al Ahly retaining the league title for a third season in a row.
Abdallah El-Said has won four Egyptian League titles, 3 Egyptian Super Cup titles, two CAF Champions League titles, two CAF Super Cup titles, one Egypt Cup title, and one CAF Confederation Cup title, a total of 13 titles with Al Ahly. Of current Al Ahly players he has made the fifth most appearances and has scored the most goals. But the recent details of his transfer saga between signing for Zamalek and renewing his contract with Al Ahly has left many fans bitter. Does El-Said deserve a second chance with the Red Devils to make things right again? Or has the fairytale ended for the 32-year-old midfielder?
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