‘I helped Spurs break 16-year Chelsea curse – now I’m MP after hanging up boots’

Talk about making a drastic career change after hanging up one's boots.

After bringing the curtain down on an 18-year career in professional football in 2018, ex-Tottenham midfielder Hossam Ghaly made the move into politics. And the 70-cap former Egypt international is hoping to make a different kind of history after playing his part in one of Spurs' most significant results of the 21st century.

After joining Tottenham from Feyenoord in January 2006, Ghaly had his first taste of their rivalry with Chelsea in November of the same year. And he proved to be an instant good-luck charm as Spurs ended their 16-year curse in the fixture.

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Ghaly played the full 90 minutes as Martin Jol's side came from behind to win 2-1 thanks to Aaron Lennon's second-half decider at White Hart Lane. And that result sparked a more competitive era between the two teams after more than a decade-and-a-half of dominance by the west Londoners.

As for Ghaly himself, that Premier League triumph turned out to be his only win in five meetings with Chelsea. However, he did score against the Blues when the nemeses met once more in the sixth round of the following season's FA Cup.

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It was Ghaly's goal that put Spurs 3-1 ahead at Stamford Bridge in March 2007, only for Chelsea to come back and force a replay at White Hart Lane. Jose Mourinho's side couldn't be restrained a second time and went on to beat Manchester United in the final as part of a domestic double that year.

Ghaly left Spurs in 2009 and played for Al-Nassr – Cristiano Ronaldo's current Saudi employers – and Belgian club Lierse before retiring at boyhood club Al Ahly. He was later elected to the club's board prior to becoming a member of Egypt's House of Representatives in January 2021.

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He once told Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram: "Maybe my little experience resulted in me not appearing in a good way. I received an offer from Birmingham but I thought things were not suitable for me at the time and I rejected it."

It's alleged Ghaly didn't move to St. Andrews after then-manager Steve Bruce questioned his fitness levels. He added: "This was worse than what I did at Tottenham because a move to Birmingham could have helped me re-launch my career [in the Premier League]."

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