x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Mohamed Aboutrika snubs Baniyas to take pay cut with current side Al Ahly

The midfielder has turned down a lucrative deal to move to the Pro League to stay with the cash-strapped Egyptian side.

Al Ahly midfielder Mohamed Aboutrika.
Al Ahly midfielder Mohamed Aboutrika.
Mohamed Aboutrika, the Egyptian attacking midfielder, has turned down a lucrative six-month loan deal with Baniyas and has instead agreed to take a pay cut on his new deal with Al Ahly in his home country.
According to media reports, Baniyas had offered US$2 million (Dh7.3m) to bring Aboutrika to the Abu Dhabi club until the end of the season and Ahly officials were keen to accept the offer as the Cairo club is going through a financial crisis because of the delay in restarting the Egyptian league.
The player and the club would have split the $2m 50-50 and the money would have been a great help to Ahly. The final decision was, however, left to the coach Hossam El Badry and he, along with Aboutrika himself, have turned down the offer.
Instead, the 34-year-old, who has been named the best Africa-based Player of the Year three times, has renewed his deal with Ahly for a further two years, signing on a blank paper without any conditions and leaving it to the club to decide his remuneration.
"I will not leave this club and these fans even if I was offered hundreds of millions of dollars," said Aboutrika, who has been playing at Ahly since 2004 and has turned down several offers from European clubs in the past.
"I belong to this club and I will not turn my back on them or leave for another club unless Ahly don't want me anymore."
Aboutrika was also happy that his coach had turned down the Baniyas offer because, "it means he is still convinced about the potential and capabilities of Aboutrika".
El Badry, dismissing any possibility of allowing Aboutrika to leave, said: "I know the club needs liquidity but we, the team, needs Aboutrika and I have asked the administration to renew his contract and those of five other players."
Had Aboutrika accepted the offer, he would have linked up with compatriot Mohammed Zidan, who has been struggling with injuries since signing a two-year deal with Baniyas at the start of the season.
Meanwhile, another Egyptian who has been struggling with injuries -  Al Wasl's Shikabala - has returned to training and should make the starting line-up when his club host Al Nasr in the Dubai derby on Saturday.
Shikabala suffered a torn anterior muscle in Wasl's last Pro League game against Baniyas on December 12 and he had been recuperating in Cairo since. In his absence, Wasl lost all four of their matches - one in the President's Cup and three in the Etisalat Cup.
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