Egyptian striker Mohamed Zidan has said he feels angry at former president Hosni Mubarak but also sympathetic towards him.
“I kissed Mubarak’s hand when he honoured Egypt after the 2010 African Cup of Nations as I saw him as a father of all Egyptians,” said Zidan, currently at German side Mainz, during an interview on the privately-owned CBC satellite channel.
The last Pharaoh – as he is known by some revolutionaries – was forced to step down after 30 years in power following a popular uprising that erupted on 25 January 2011. He is currently on trial for ordering the killing of protesters during the uprising and corruption.
In the interview, Zidan elaborated on why he did not acknowledge the victims of the Port Said disaster – when 74 people died at a match between Ahly and Masry on 1 February – when he celebrated his first goal with Mainz.
“I really didn’t mean to provoke the emotions of the Egyptians,” he said.
Following the disaster, all football competitions in Egypt were suspended, the Egyptian Football Association's board resigned and several players, such as Ahly’s Mohamed Barakat, announced their retirement.
“I was really close to a move to Ahly in the past and I respect the club and its fans,” Zidan insisted.
The Port Said-born player – who some accuse of abandoning his roots – announced that he is “a proud Egyptian” and that he “refused to give up” his Egyptian citizenship after he got a German passport.
Zidan is the father of a two-year-old son, Adam, whose name he has tattooed on his ribs. He recently announced that he was thinking of marrying his current Danish partner, Stina, despite having told the Egyptian media that he had married her seven years ago.
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