Zamalek coach Osorio unafraid of playing against Cristiano Ronaldo in Arab Cup

Ahram Online , Saturday 29 Jul 2023

Zamalek's Colombian coach Juan Carlos Osorio said his team is not afraid of facing the Saudi side Al-Nassr, for which Cristiano Ronaldo plays, in the Arab Cup, asserting that the team is determined to win the regional tournament.

Christiano Ronaldo and Zamalek coach Osorio
Christiano Ronaldo and Zamalek coach Osorio

The Cairo Giants sent a warning to their opponents in the King Salman's Clubs Cup, also known as the Arab Cup after they kicked off their campaign in the tournament with a dominant 4-0 win over Tunisia's US Monastir in the opening round of Group C games on Friday.

“We trained well before coming to Saudi Arabia. We’re taking part in a competition that includes the most notable Arab teams that represent different football schools,” Osorio told the Saudi newspaper Arriyadiyah.

Group C also includes Saudi Arabian sides Al-Nassr, whose Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo is expected to play in the tournament, and Al-Shabab.  

Zamalek play Al-Shabab on Monday and Al-Nassr on Thursday.

Not worried about Cristiano!

The Colombian tactician emphasized that his team are not afraid of facing Al-Nassr, which he said has several talented local players alongside Cristiano.

“Al-Nassr are a great team but we’re not afraid of them. Their Cristiano Ronaldo is a world-class player with high technical and scoring skills but he doesn’t worry me as much as his side’s offensive capabilities, which can constitute a source of great danger,” Osorio added.

The 62-year-old coach said his squad are focused on preparing well for the upcoming game against Al-Shabab on Monday, stressing that they focus on each game separately without getting distracted by the identity of the opponent they will face in the matches to follow.  

He also praised the Tunisian side US Monastir's technical and tactical development, stressing that they are building a new squad.

Here to win!

Osorio said he came to Saudi Arabia to compete for the Arab Cup title.

"I hope that we win the championship since that will be a positive and strong start to the new season, as well as a great motivation for the players," he said.

Zamalek has had a season to forget, failing since the beginning of 2023 to win any title in all domestic competitions.

The team will compete in the African Confederation after they finished third in the Egyptian Premier League. 

Osorio assumed the helm at Zamalek mid-season in April.

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