‘I helped Spurs break 16-year Chelsea curse – now I’m an MP after hanging up my boots’

A former Premier League player and national hero is now serving as a very different kind of ambassador for his country, having chosen to serve in parliament rather than on the football field.

Talk about hanging up one’s boots and making a big career change.

2018 saw the end of former Tottenham midfielder Hossam Ghaly’s 18-year professional football career. He then entered politics. The former Egypt international, who played 70 caps, is also hoping to create a different kind of history after contributing to one of the most important Spurs outcomes of the twenty-first century.

In November of 2006, Ghaly experienced the rivalry between Tottenham and Chelsea for the first time after moving from Feyenoord to Tottenham in January of that same year. And he turned out to be an instant charm of good fortune as Spurs broke their 16-year losing streak in the match.

At White Hart Lane, Ghaly played the entire ninety minutes as Martin Jol’s team overcame a 2-1 deficit to win thanks to a second-half goal from Aaron Lennon. And after the west Londoners dominated for more than 15 years, that outcome spurred a more competitive era between the two teams.

Regarding Ghaly, that Premier League victory ended up being his lone victory in five encounters with Chelsea. He did, however, score against the Blues when the rivals faced off again in the FA Cup sixth round the following season.

In March 2007, Ghaly’s goal gave Spurs a 3-1 lead at Stamford Bridge, but Chelsea responded to force a replay at White Hart Lane.As part of a domestic double that year, Jose Mourinho’s team defeated Manchester United in the final after they were unable to be stopped a second time.

After leaving Spurs in 2009, Ghaly played for Belgian club Lierse and Al-Nassr, the Saudi team that currently employs Cristiano Ronaldo, before retiring at his childhood club Al Ahly. Before being elected to the club’s board of directors in January 2021, he was a member of the Egyptian House of Representatives.

He once said to the Egyptian daily Al-Ahram, “Perhaps my lack of experience contributed to my unfavorable appearance. Birmingham made me an offer, but I turned it down because I didn’t think it was the right time for me.”

Ghaly allegedly chose not to relocate to St. Andrews after manager Steve Bruce questioned his level of fitness at the time. He continued: “This was worse than what I did at Tottenham because a move to Birmingham could have helped me re-launch my career [in the Premier League].”

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