After months of congratulation and excitement, Egypt’s first World Cup in three decades has been thrown into turmoil.
Sergio Ramos won’t be booking a holiday in Sharm El Sheikh any time soon after his roughhouse defending injured Mohamed Salah just minutes into the Champions League final in Kiev.
It remains unclear whether the Liverpool winger will be fit for the tournament. The Pharoahs’ chances of qualifying were already slim but, without their talisman, things appear even more difficult.
Step forward Trezeguet. No, not that one.
Mahmoud Hassan is not related to David. He doesn’t play in the same position as the French World Cup winner, nor does he boast the same level of talent.
The physical resemblance, however, is easy to see. For swathes of this season too, even his ability to put the ball in the net drew favourable with the former Juventus man.
Kasimpasa shouldn’t have finished eighth in the Turkish Super Lig.
The Istanbul minnows boast neither the infrastructure nor the funding of the city’s traditional big three but they surpassed their means once again thanks in no small part to efforts of an on-loan winger from Anderlecht.
REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany
‘Trezeguet’ has laid on a whopping 14 goals and five assists for the Apaches this season with his performances attracting sustained interest from the likes of Leicester and Everton.
Anybody who watched him win the clean sweep at Al Ahly will not be surprised. Trezeguet had won everything domestically by the time the Belgians came calling but a difficult adaptation in Brussels has been swept away by his coruscating form in Turkey.
The 23-year-old made his international debut in 2014 and has been a regular starter under Hector Cúper ever since.
Vital in qualifying, going as far as winning the penalty from which his country secured passage to the tournament, the Egyptian national team will need the youngster to do well if they are to have any chance of progressing in the tournament.
REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany
With Salah likely to miss the opening game of the tournament, much of the country’s expectations will fall to the Kasimpasa star. It remains to be seen whether he can thrive under this pressure.
If he can, then a surprise second-place finish might not be entirely out of the question.
Trezeguet's difficult time at Anderlecht might have suggested a man with brittle confidence, but the way he has rehabilitated himself on the Bosphorus rolls back the accusation that he might be weak-willed.
“I do not think about the future,” he told Haberturk recently when asked about the interest from abroad. “I joined Kasimpasa on a one-year loan and I am very happy in Turkey.”
Nobody, however, expects him to stay at the club beyond the summer. If Trezeguet lives up to the family name, he could well be on the way to one of the continent’s premier leagues before long.
Trezeguet offers similar threat to Salah, with a tendency to embark on rampaging runs from the left before cutting in to dispatch a devastating shot.
He is technically superb, able to deceive defenders with a well-timed shimmy or a rasping curler into the far-top corner.
Whilst not boasting excoriating pace, he is a nimble thinker whose runs in from wide can often prove difficult to track and stop.
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