After Hosni Abd-Rabou announced his retirement from football on Wednesday, Ahram Online puts the spotlight on five highlights from the career of Egypt's most decorated central midfielder's career.
Full name: Hosny Abd-Rabo Abdel-Mottaleb Ibrahim
Date of birth: 1 November 1984 (age 34)
Place of birth: Ismailia, Egypt
Height: 1.76 m
Playing position: Midfielder
Retired from football: 16 January 2019
Ismaily and Egypt national team debut
Abd-Rabou started his professional football career in Egyptian Premier League outfit Ismaily in 2002, and was the youngest Egyptian player in the first division to win the League title in the 2001-2002 season.
Abd-Rabou joined Egypt's U-20 national team in 2003 and took part in the FIFA World Youth Championship that took place in the United Arab Emirates. He attracted the attention of big European teams, but Ismaily refused to sell him.
In 2004, Abd-Rabou joined the senior Egyptian national team for the first time in his career to play in the African Cup of Nations that took part in Tunisia and was one of the youngest players in the tournament.
2003 African Championship
Abd-Rabou played in the 2003 African Champions League and reached the final game of the Arabian Club Championship in the same year.
Joining French side RC Strasbourg and the controversy of his return to Ahly
Abd-Rabou signed a five-year contract with French club RC Strasbourg in the summer transfer window of 2005, as he made 22 appearances in Ligue 1.
Strasbourg was relegated to Ligue 2 in the 2005-2006 season, then Abd-Rabou left the team on a season loan deal to make a return to his childhood club Ismaily.
After the loan spell ended, and since Strasbourg failed to promote to Ligue 1 again, he agreed to extend his stay with Ismaily on a permanent deal. However, the French club refused to conclude the deal and they decided to take legal action over the player signing a contract with another club without their consent.
Meanwhile, Egyptian Premier League giants Ahly announced the signing of a contract with the player, but the coastal side's fans slammed the deal and threatened the player not to leave the club to join their league's foes.
In the summer transfer window of the 2008 season, Abd-Rabou made an unexpected move by joining UAE side Al-Ahli of Dubai on loan for two years, before joining Saudi Arabian clubs Ittihad and Al-Nassr FC in the 2012 and 2013 seasons. He then returned to his childhood club Ismaily to hang his boot while wearing the coastal side's jersey.
His shine in the 2008 African Cup of Nations
Abd-Rabou was called up for the Egyptian national team to participate in the 2006 African Cup of Nations that took place in Egypt, but he was injured just one week before the tournament started and could not play. The Pharaohs claimed the tournament's title after beating Ivory Coast in the final game.
Due to his impressive performance with the Egyptian national team in the 2008 African Cup of Nations, the player was chosen as Player of the Tournament in Ghana.
He was also chosen in the starting XI team of the tournament in the ACN 2008 tournament as well as best player in CAF 2008.
Series of injuries and retirement
Abd-Rabou sustained knee ligament injuries three times, the first was two weeks before the start of the 2006 African Cup of Nations campaign, the second was in 2010, and the third was in the 2014 season. He also suffered from a cartilage injury twice.
Late on Wednesday, Abd-Rabou announced that he is bringing the curtain down on a glittering 17-year football career.
He said in a video message on his Facebook page that he already had plans to retire last summer but had postponed his decision to help his club Ismaily in a "difficult time."
"This is a very difficult decision … but I'm now retiring from football. I thank all the Egyptian fans who stood by me," Abd-Rabou added.
"I hoped I would achieve a title for me and for you [Ismaily fans], but, thank God, the love I had here is one of the best things I enjoyed.
"I wish the club all the best, there are many who can play my role even better than I did," he added.
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