'We are ready for Real Madrid as a team and not just any one player': Ahly skipper El Shennawi

Ahmed Abd El Rasoul , Tuesday 7 Feb 2023

Ahly skipper and goalkeeper Mohamed El Shennawi said that the Red Devils will be playing Real Madrid and not just any one player as the Merengues will miss several key players in this Club World Cup semi-final on Wednesday.

 Mohamed El-Shennawi
Ahly skipper and goalkeeper Mohamed El-Shennawi


“We are happy for sure that we are in the semis again. We play team football. We are ready for Real Madrid as a whole team and just for any one player,” El Shenawi told the pre-game press conference on Tuesday.

Real Madrid are the most successful club in the history of the Club World Cup, having won four titles in 2014, 2016, 2017 and 2018.

However, several key Real Madrid players are struggling to stay fit for the crunch showdown against Ahly, including star goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, forward Karim Benzema, defenders Eder Militao, Ferland Mendy, David Alaba and midfielders Lucas Vazquez and Aurelien Tchouameni.

Ahly coach Marcel Koller also told the press conference that Real Madrid will not be affected negatively by absence of several players in the FIFA Club World Cup semis, vowing that the Reds will adopt an attacking strategy against The Meringues.

Ahly advanced to semifinals, their third in a row, after beating Seattle Sounders of the United States 1-0 on Saturday.

“We are fully focused since the begining of the tournament and today it has doubled as we are facing Real Madrid,” the 34-year-old Pharaohs veteran keeper explained.

It’s the second time for Ahly to play against the European Champions in the Club World Cup as the Red Devils lost to Bayern Munich 2-0 in the semi-final of the 2020 edition.

Ahly, who already claimed three bronze medals in the 2006, 2020 and 2021 editions, are bidding to go all the way for the first time in their eighth appearance in the Club World Cup.

"We want to achieve better than our previous bronze medal and reach the final this time for the first time,” he stressed.


Moroccan support

“We are living in a positive atmosphere since arriving here amid the support of Moroccan fans everywhere. We would like to thank Moroccan fans.

"We wished good luck for Morocco’s Wydad, unfortunately they were out and now we are the only african representative and alonside Al-Hilal we represent the Arab fans. I hope we would enjoy your great support against Real Madrid, ” he added.

Al Hilal, who reached the semis after beating Wydad 5-3 on penalties on Saturday, will face Brazilian side Flamengo in the semifinal other game on Tuesday evening.

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