Now 37, Egypt’s Ahmed Hassan has just become the most-capped player in the history of the game, having made his 180th appearance for his country.
The only player to have won four CAF Africa Cup of Nations titles, in 1998, 2006, 2008 and 2010, the durable midfielder lifted the CAF Champions League with Al Ahly in 2008 and has also won league and cup trophies in his native country, Turkey and Belgium. One of Egypt’s most successful exports to Europe, Hassan was named Player of the Tournament at the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations.
To mark the evergreen Egyptian’s new world record, FIFA.combrings you some of the choicest comments he has made in his lengthy career.
“To become the most capped player in the game is an honour for me and for the whole of Egypt. I am very proud of this record.”
Hassan on his new international appearances record.
“Everyone has to do their bit. The change we are fighting for has to start with ourselves.”
On the Egyptian Revolution.
“I’m a footballer first and foremost and politics don’t interest me.”
On political life.
“Our objective now is to go on and qualify for the World Cup.”
After his third straight Africa Cup of Nations triumph in 2010.
“You shouldn’t make distinctions between a substitute and a first-choice player because everyone is important. Mohamed Aboutrika didn’t stop being one of Egypt’s greatest players just because he was sitting on the bench in our opening game at the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations. Everyone has their moment”
On the critics who say he no longer has a major role to play in the national team after starting several games on the bench.
“Al Ahly are finished. I’m going to Zamalek now.”
On his controversial move from Al Ahly to sworn enemies Zamalek last year.
“Zamalek fans give their support to all the players at the club because they love them. They’ve helped me all the way and I’d like to thank them from the bottom of my heart.”
Heaping praise on his new fans, Hassan takes a swipe at the Al Ahly faithful.
“There’s no disagreement between Hassan Shehata and I. He’s like a father to me. We never argue and there’s been a very solid bond between us for many years.”
On the rumours of a rift with the former national team bossShehata, now his coach at Zamalek.
“The new coach will need a helping hand from providence. He’s taking charge of the national team at a time when Egyptian football is going through the most turbulent period in its history.”
On Bob Bradley’s appointment as Shehata’s replacement in the Egypt hotseat.
“I had problems with European coaches during Ramadan. But when they saw that I could fast and still play my part 100 per cent they understood that it didn’t necessarily have a negative impact on my performances. In fact I’d say the opposite was true.”
On fasting and winning his coaches round.
*“Egyptian players, and Arabic players in general, need to change their mindsets if they want to make a go of it in Europe. They have to see football as a full-time occupation and not as a hobby.” *
On the failure of Egyptian players to succeed in Europe.
“I love listening to Mohammed Mounir’s songs, especially as he’s from Upper Egypt, like me.”
On his musical tastes.