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CSKA refused and shines in the European Cup! Olympiacos is led to the trophy by a sniper with an unusual destiny

Date: June 25, 2024 Time: 12:25:41

Olympiacos is the surprise finalist of the Conference League. Greek teams have not reached the decisive stage of European competition since 1971, when Panathinaikos made noise in the Champions Cup. But Olympiacos did it. Now the Greeks have a good chance of winning the trophy, as they will play Fiorentina at home. The Piraeus club’s success is largely due to the Conference League exploits of its top scorer Ayoub El-Kaabi, who could have ended up at CSKA last year.

In the Conference League playoffs, El Kaabi scores like a machine. He scored a goal in each of the two round of 16 matches with Ferencvaros. Both goals were the winner, as Olympiacos won twice by 1:0. In an incredible confrontation with Maccabi Tel Aviv in the round of 16 (the Greeks lost at home 1:4, but in the second leg they defeated their rival 6:1), El Kaabi scored one goal in the first match and two In a second. In the semi-finals against Aston Villa, considered the pair’s undisputed favourites, Ayub scored a hat-trick in Birmingham and added a brace in Greece. Only in the quarterfinals against Fenerbahçe did the 30-year-old Moroccan leave the field without scoring. Total: eight games – 10 goals. Unique statistics!

Follow the Conference League finals:

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Overall, this season is proving to be very successful for El-Kaabi. Ayoub participated in 49 matches in the Greek championship and European Cups, scoring 32 goals and providing three assists. For example, in the group stage of the Europa League he scored a double against Freiburg. Although Olympiacos, before the change of coach and the appointment of the miracle worker José Luis Mendilibar, who reached the European Cup final for the second year in a row, did not show the best football, the Moroccan himself did well.

This is El Kaabi’s first season at Olympiacos. And in Europe, despite the considerable age of a footballer, he is only the third. Ayyub’s career is a story of overcoming and taking off against many obstacles.

El-Kaabi made his professional debut late. He was only 21 years old. At that point, he could very well have abandoned football and decided that he would not reach the level where he could earn normal money.

Ayoub El Kaabi at Olympiacos

Photo: Naomi Baker/Getty Images

Ayoub was born and raised in a disadvantaged area of ​​Morocco’s largest city, Casablanca. In the 1990s, her family was going through a very difficult period. El-Kaabi was forced to leave school at age 15 and get a job in a store. The future footballer became a carpenter’s apprentice.

“I was born into a humble family,” El-Kaabi said. “To feed myself I had to learn a trade. “So I dedicated myself to carpentry.”

At the same time, Ayub played football with friends and acquaintances. Faced with the general panorama, he stood out for his technical qualities and physical condition, which is why they advised him to sign for a local team. And there he already attracted the attention of the scouts of a serious club: Racing de Casablanca. Only after signing his first professional contract in 2014, El-Kaabi, then 21 years old, left carpentry.

Racing sent Ayoub to one of the third division teams so that the forward could gain experience. However, El-Kaabi did not immediately become a striker. At first he was placed in the left-back position, as the young player was fast and durable. Ayoub then became a defensive midfielder. And only after a while did the coaches realize that he was also a high-quality finisher of attacks.

How Olympiacos eliminated Aston Villa in the semi-finals:

Emery’s team was destroyed again by an unknown person from Morocco. And he didn’t let her enter the European Cup final!

In the 2016/2017 season, El-Kaabi became the top scorer in the second division of the Moroccan championship with 25 goals, after which Renaissance Barkan bought him from Racing for 1.88 million euros. Ayoub continued to score consistently in the first division. Moroccan Championship, so in January 2018 he debuted with the national team.

Everything that happened reminded me of a fairy tale. El-Kaabi participated with the national team in the African Nations Championship, where he became the best player and top scorer. With nine goals in six games he helped the Moroccans win the trophy. This tournament should not be confused with the African Cup of Nations. Teams made up solely of football players who play in local leagues compete in the African Championship.

As a result, El-Kaabi received a place in the Moroccan national team for the 2018 World Cup. In Russia he played 77 minutes in the first leg with Iran (0-1) and half a minute in the 2nd round with Portugal (0-1 ). At that time, Ayyub did not have enough experience to prove himself. And there may not be a second world championship in his career. In the 2022 World Cup, the forward was not included in the national team squad.

Ayoub El Kaabi in the Moroccan national team

Photo: Alex Livesey/Getty Images

After the 2018 World Cup, El-Kaabi was sold to China for 6 million euros. The striker left for Hebei China Fortune, where he played until returning to Morocco in October 2020. But Ayoub returned to another club: Wydad de Casablanca. In the 2020/2021 season, El-Kaabi won the championship title with his new team and became the league’s top scorer. Only then were the doors of Europe opened to him.

In August 2021, Turkish side Hatayspor signed El-Kaabi as a free agent. In his first season in the Super League, the Moroccan scored 18 goals in 32 games. In the list of top scorers he shared second place with Mario Balotelli and was included in the symbolic team of the Turkish championship.

In the 2022/2023 season, El-Kaabi began to take Hatayspor onto the field with the captain’s armband, scoring eight goals in almost half of the championship. And then a tragedy occurred in Hatay and some other regions of Türkiye. In February 2023, an earthquake destroyed about 10,000 buildings in the city, killing 24,000 people and injuring more than 30,000. Hatay was the most affected area of ​​the country.

For Hatayspor the season ended in February: the Turkish championship was completed without him. El-Kaabi was forced to look for a new team. At that time Ayyub could have ended up in the Russian championship. Information has appeared about negotiations between CSKA and the Moroccan striker. It is reported that the military team is willing to rent El-Kaabi until the end of the season and then sign him to a two-year contract. Ayyub was offered a salary of 600,000 euros.

The Moroccan was not opposed to continuing his career at CSKA, but the transfer fell through. It emerged that the decisive factor was the opinion of El-Kaabi’s wife. She wanted to stay in Türkiye instead of going to Russia.

However, El-Kaabi received an offer from Al-Sadd and left for Qatar before the summer. And in August 2023 he left for Olympiacos as a free agent. Currently, Transfermarkt estimates Ayoub’s transfer value at €3.5 million, but it is obvious that after his exploits, those who want to buy the Greek striker will have to pay two, three or even five times more. It depends on the size of the buyer’s wallet. If a Premier League club comes for El-Kaabi after being impressed by his performance against Aston Villa, it could be an expensive deal.

The Greeks celebrate that Olympiacos has reached the final of the Conference League:

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Olympiacos celebrates the first European Cup final for Greek teams in 53 years! Video

It’s a shame El-Kaabi didn’t make it to the RPL. Although Ayyub himself does not regret it. After all, otherwise there wouldn’t have been a European Cup final in his career.

* This website provides news content gathered from various internet sources. It is crucial to understand that we are not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of the information presented Read More

Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.
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