World Player of the Year Cristiano Ronaldo said former Egypt stars Ahmed Hassan and Mido made a good impression in Europe as he spoke about Egyptian football in an interview with Ahram's sports magazine.
The Real Madrid and Portugal forward, who was named the world's best player twice in 2008 and 2013, also said he is aware that Cairo giants Ahly and Zamalek are the most popular and successful clubs in the history of Egypt.
"I do not know many Egyptian players, but I know Ahmed Hassan who was an excellent player who played for some European clubs. He left a good impression in Europe," Ronaldo told Al-Ahram Al-Reyadi.
"Mido was also a talented goal-scorer who established himself at many clubs in Europe, especially in the English Premier League … I knew that he had retired and become a coach of Zamalek.
"I wish him luck and I'm sure he will take full advantage of his European experience as a player."
Former Egypt skipper Ahmed Hassan, a decorated central midfielder who led the Pharaohs to four African Cup of Nations titles, played for several Turkish outfits including Besiktas and won the Belgian league and cup with Anderlecht. He is now a member of the national team backroom staff.
Towering striker Mido had a nomadic career, having played for 11 clubs in six competitions, including the English Premier League, Spanish La Liga, Italian Serie A and French Ligue1. He was sacked as Zamalek coach in July despite leading the club to the Egypt Cup title in his first year in charge.
Ahly and Zamalek
Ronaldo, who had never visited Egypt, said he knows well that Ahly and Zamalek are the heavyweights of Egyptian football.
"I know that Ahly and Zamalek are the best and most popular in Egypt. When I was at Manchester United, I watched a BBC documentary about the history of both clubs and their impact on the country.
"I knew then that Ahly and Zamalek are the backbone of Egyptian football," he added.
The 29-year-old also had words of praise for former Ahly coach and compatriot Manuel Jose, who is widely considered as the best manager in the Red Devils' history, having steered the club to a host of domestic and continental titles.
"Of course I know Jose very well, and I was pleased to hear that he succeeded with Ahly. The secret of his success is that he has a strong personality … he was right to choose Ahly and I'm sure Ahly benefited from that as well," he said.
Speaking about his own Real Madrid side, Ronaldo said the new arrivals would need time to gel after the club made a stuttering start to their season, losing twice in their first five Spanish La Liga matches.
"We will return to our best as soon as this happens. We are still at an early stage and we can make up for the points we had lost."
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