Aston Villa winger Mahmoud "Trezeguet" Hassan believes Sunday will be "a special day in Egypt" as he will be facing countryman and Liverpool star winger Mohamed Salah in the English Premier League. He insisted his side is ready for the difficult game against the Reds.
“I have played in the national team with Salah for seven years. I play left, he plays right, and we reached the final of the African Nations Cup in 2017 and played in the World Cup together the following year,” Trezeguet told the Daily Mail on Friday.
Trezeguet and Salah are among the Pharaohs' top stars in recent years with both leading the team in the 2018 World Cup finals and playing in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations hosted by Egypt.
When both teams, Villa and Liverpool, met in the league last November, Trezeguet was on target after scoring the opener, but Liverpool won the match 2-1. Trezeguet thinks this time things are different despite failing to find the net this season, unlike Salah who scored three times so far.
'It will be a hard game because of what Liverpool have achieved but we are ready. We are ready to do something good for Aston Villa. We have a strong team now, we've learned from last year and this year I believe we can do something important this season,” said the 26-year-old.
“Salah and I are good friends. We used to meet in London, especially when we have time off; we'll go perhaps for dinner together, along with (Arsenal's) Mohamed Elneny, (West Brom's) Ahmed Hegazi and (Villa teammate) Ahmed Elmohamady.
“We are all good friends, not just colleagues. We know each other's families, we know everything about each other.
'I'm sure we'll speak before this game but we won't talk about it. We'll just joke, discuss other things. Anything to take the pressure off,” he added.
On Sunday, Liverpool will be seeking their fourth successive victory in the league after winning their opening three matches, while Villa will aim to maintain the strong start of the season after winning the first two games.
Trezeguet, who joined Villa from Turkish Super Lig side Kasimpasa in summer 2019, scored six Premier League goals in 34 appearances, and provided two assists.
The Egyptian international was instrumental in Villa's campaign to maintain their place in the Premier League after scoring three goals in the last three games.
Hard work despite coronavirus
Villa ended last season in the 17th place after a terrible term that was haunted by almost four months of suspension due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Trezeguet said he made the best use of the lockdown period in England to improve himself.
“When we didn't have training or anything to do, I was running in the street every day... When I could, I came to the training ground on my own and I worked everyday,” the former Ahly player said.
“It was a very hard time — three months in my apartment, not being able to go back to Egypt to see my mother, my brother, my sister.
“But I told myself I had a dream and I had to work here, and I told myself 'My family time will come'. Luckily, my wife and son are here with me.
“It's hard when you have a long time without training but because of this I was successful last year. Even when we didn't know whether the league would restart, I told myself to work everyday and that I would have the rewards later.
“I am always training. Even at the end of the season, I took two days off then went back to Egypt and started training again.
“I would wake up at 8am, before all my family, to run on the beach and then work at the gym.
“If I don't feel I've trained well, I can't eat or sleep well. Everyday I have to work well to be able to tell myself that I deserve to eat and have a good time,” concluded Trezeguet.
(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)