UAE move comes 'at right time,' says Egypt's Zidan

Ahmed Abd El Rasoul , Sunday 5 Aug 2012

Star footballer Mohamed Zidan says he prefers to play in gulf region rather than return to his native Egypt

Mohamed Zidan
Mohamed Zidan

Egypt striker Mohamed Zidan believes that he chose the right time to move to the Arab Gulf region after joining the Emirates' Professionals League last week.

The Pharaohs striker has signed a two-year deal with UAE outfit Bani Yas Monday to end an exciting European career that began more than ten years ago in Denmark.

"I turned down offers form clubs in Egypt, China and the UAE, as my former club, Mainz, didn't agree to release me," Zidan said at a news conference after being introduced by Bani Yas on Sunday.

The 30-year-old was free to sign with any other club during the current summer transfer window, since his contract with Bundesliga side Mainz expired last June.

Mainz declined the option of extending Zidan's contract until 2014, offering only to retain his services for another year, a deal for which the Egyptian player showed little appetite.

"Bani Yas' offer was the most serious one I received; I think I chose the right time to start a new era of my career," explained Zidan, who launched his career with Egyptian club Masry.

"I preferred to move to a club in the gulf rather than to the Egyptian league right now. I still have much to offer in the coming years," he added. "All Arab players are eager to take any chance to play abroad, as this is the only way they can improve themselves."

Zidan has been one of Egypt’s key players since making his international debut in a 2007 Nations Cup qualifier.

He played a pivotal role in helping the Pharaohs win the biennial tournament in 2008 and 2010, and was also part of the team’s squad for the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup in South Africa, where he famously scored against five-time world champions Brazil.

However, Zidan fell out favour with the management of the Egyptian national team last month after looking for a new team to play with and skipping preparations for the Nations Cup qualifiers.

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