ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Football fans around the globe—and indeed supporters of Egypt—are holding their breath, praying Mohamed Salah is fit in time for the Pharaohs’ World Cup opener on Friday.
Luckily for them, the Egyptian sensation has a clone. Well, sort of…
Meet Hussein Ali: a 20-year-old Iraqi who plays for local Zawra Football Club in Baghdad. Anyone who sees Ali for the first is forgiven for thinking he is the real Salah.
Due to his resemblance to the footballing star, Ali is known as the “Iraqi Mohamed Salah.”
His curly hair, scruffy beard, and slim figure are almost identical to that of the Egyptian and Liverpool forward.
Like Salah, Ali has a passion for the sport, but he is the first to admit that he is not on the Egyptian’s footballing level and may never accomplish what he has.
When Salah played for Italian club Roma, Hussein was not that well known. But, when Salah moved to Liverpool and broke dozens of records, the Iraqi’s stardom boomed.
“People are really excited when they see me on the streets and always ask for selfies. Some even call me Mohamed Salah,” Ali describes his daily experiences to Kurdistan 24.
“When Mohamed Salah was injured in the Champions League final, people visited me and called me asking if I was alright,” he smiles.
Ali hopes Salah calls him one day so the two can meet. He also wishes the footballer is fit and ready to play in the 2018 World Cup—Egypt’s first game is against Uruguay on June 15.
Football fans who watch Salah play always rush toward Ali in the streets to meet him and take selfies mainly because they know the odds of bumping into the real Mohamed Salah are slim, so they are content with his doppelgänger instead.