World-renowned coach Jose Mourinho has disclosed that he was interested in signing Egyptian football icon Mohamed Aboutrika during his first stint as the Chelsea FC manager.
The Portuguese tactician revealed that he travelled to Ghana to watch former Borussia Dortmund and Egypt forward Mohamed Zidan at the 2008 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) finals.
However, Mourinho was impressed by Aboutrika, who inspired the Pharaohs to the AFCON title – scoring four goals during the continental tournament.
Despite being interested in the former Al Ahly superstar, Mourinho decided against signing Aboutrika due to his age as the playmaker was 29-years-old at the time.
“Yes, this is somehow true,” Mourinho said on BEIN Sports when he was asked if he was interested in Aboutrika.
“From our side, we have some questions regarding the calibre of some players and whether they will adapt or not.
“But of course I pretty well know that he [Aboutrika] was very talented and everything was apparent to everyone through his achievements with Al Ahly and Egypt,” he added.
“Aboutrika had the advantage of strong physicality and technique, and definitely would have managed to adapt to European football.
“I am sure if he was active right now he undoubtedly wouldn’t remain in Egypt and would have played in Europe,” he concluded.
Aboutrika retired from professional football in 2013 having turned out for Egyptian sides Tersana and Al Ahly, and Emirati club Baniyas.