File Photo: Zamalek's Shikabala (Reuters)
Long-time Zamalek star Mahmoud "Shikabala" Abdel-Razeq has revealed a new dispute with the club’s board regarding his time there.
"I want to end my career at my home club Zamalek for the sake of my loyalty to the club and its fans, but I don't want to make problems with those who don't want me back," the 32-year-old revealed in a long statement he published on his Twitter account on Monday night to clarify his account after attacks from the Zamalek board, led by chairman Mortada Mansour.
Shikabala has recently been heavily criticised by Zamalek board members over his no-show at the club's trainings, and they have announced he would be leaving the Cairo side.
The Aswan-born player claimed he communicated directly with the board but was not able to meet them once despite repeated attempts to do so, mediated by other board members and football journalists.
"I suffered a series of lies and false accusations lately regarding my loyalty and love for my club. I always have been a Zamalek fans before being a player… I really don't understand these behaviours," he wrote on Twitter, rubbishing local media reports regarding his communication with the Zamalek board.
Shikabala didn't seem certain about continuing serving his beloved club, announcing he could finish his career at Ismaily who supported him earlier in his career.
"I want to end my career in Zamalek. If not, I would definitely choose Ismaily, whose board and fans always showed me support, respect and love," he expressed.
The Shikabala-Mansour tale is not new; the chairman has in the past introduced the player as a hero and at other times as an undisciplined player.
The speedy winger, who made his debut with Zamalek in 2001 at the age of 16, is blessed with incredible ball control and dribbling skills, plus a powerful left foot that often left defenders and goalkeepers bamboozled.
Seventeen years later, Shikabala’s journey with the national team has not left a mark, despite his potentil. He has only managed to play 31 games for Egypt, winning the African Cup of Nations title in 2010 albeit without making a major impact.
Probably one of the most wasted Egyptian talents, he also didn't play a minute in this year’s World Cup, Egypt’s first time in the tournament since 1999.
His long career has also been marred by disciplinary problems and personal troubles, despite having the chance to shine early in his career with some European clubs such as PAOK and Sporting Lisbon.
But recently, he has managed to redeem himself with some fine displays with Saudi team Al-Raed, and an experienced Shikabala earned back his place in the Egypt squad after almost three years of absence.
He got his first international cap under coach Hector Cuper last November for a World Cup qualifying clash at Ghana, scoring Egypt’s only goal as the already-qualified side held the hosts to a 1-1 draw.
Shikabala had an impressive season with Al-Raed, scoring nine league goals and providing four assists.
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