Veteran midfielder Ahmed Hassan has ended speculation regarding his future by signing a one-year contract extension with Zamalek, the Cairo club announced on Saturday.
“Hassan put pen-to-paper on a new one-year contract today. It’s now officially finalized,” Zamalek said in a brief statement on their official website.
Recent reports suggested that the 38-year-old, who is one of Egypt’s most decorated players, would not renew his deal due to Zamalek’s ongoing financial woes.
However, he became the latest player to extend his stay after full-back Ahmed Samir and striker Ahmed Gaafar as Zamalek prepare for a crunch clash against Cairo rivals Ahly in their opening African Champions League group-stage game on Wednesday.
The cash-strapped Zamalek will still have to do without influential duo Abdoulaye Cisse and Ibrahim Salah. Burkinabe striker Cisse went AWOL while defensive midfielder Salah fled the club’s financial problems to join Saudi Arabia’s Al-Orouba.
Hassan, who joined Zamalek in the summer of 2011 after his contract with arch rivals Ahly expired, said he might hang up his boots at the end of the season.
“I’m considering retiring at the end of the new season. I feel I have done a lot in my career, especially for the Egyptian national team, and time has come for me to rest by the end of the season,” he told Zamalek’s website.
Hassan, a delicate and versatile midfielder whose ability to keep control of the ball under pressure earned him constant praise, played a key role in helping the Pharaohs win four African Cup of Nations titles in 1998, 2006, 2008 and 2010.
He was also voted the tournament’s best player in 2006 and 2010.
On the club level, Hassan won a host of major titles, including the Belgian league with Anderlecht in 2007 and three Egyptian Premier League titles with Ahly, whom he also led to African Champions League glory in 2008.
Hassan is also the world’s most capped player with 184 international appearances but he is no longer a member of Egypt’s squad, with American coach Bob Bradley preferring to inject new blood into the team.
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