FIFA World Cup 2018: Mohamed Salah's lookalike wants to work like the Egyptian

Jun 08, 2018, 16:14 IST | AFP

"It's the real shirt, bought from an official supplier," he said proudly from his small house. Passionate about football since his was little, Ali made it onto the 'B' team of Iraqi club Al-Zawraa

FIFA World Cup 2018: Mohamed Salah's lookalike wants to work like the Egyptian
Egyptian forward Mohamed Salah's Iraqi lookalike Hussein Ali (centre) poses for a selfie in Baghdad recently. Pic/AFP. Inset: Mohamed Salah

With his black beard, curly hair and football shirt, Iraqi striker Hussein Ali is often mistaken for one of the world's top players: Egypt's Mohamed Salah. In the Iraqi capital Baghdad, Ali, 20, is stopped in his neighbourhood by people wanting a photograph with their idol.

Although he is himself a striker, for the Al-Zawraa club, it is Ali's likeness to Salah which piques Iraqis' interest. "At the first training session, he introduced himself as 'Hussein Ali'. I replied, 'No, no, you are Mohamed Salah," said Ali's coach Adnan Mohammad.

Back when Salah was playing for AS Roma, Ali was aware of the resemblance but took the comments as a joke. But when the Egyptian shot to global fame in the Premier League — becoming the number one footballer for all Arabs according to Ali — his Iraqi doppelganger started to seriously work on his image. Since then, he has started wearing the red shirt of Salah's club Liverpool.

"It's the real shirt, bought from an official supplier," he said proudly from his small house. Passionate about football since his was little, Ali made it onto the 'B' team of Iraqi club Al-Zawraa. He hopes to live the same dream as Salah, who was thrust from his Nile Delta village into the heart of international football. "We play in the same position and I do everything to imitate and copy his movements," said Ali.

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