Mustapha Hadji

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Mustapha Hadji
مصطفى حجي
Mustapha Hadji.jpg
Hadji in 2012
Personal information
Date of birth (1971-11-16) 16 November 1971 (age 47)
Place of birth Ifrane Atlas-Saghir, Morocco
Height 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
Playing position Midfielder
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1991–1996 Nancy 134 (31)
1996–1997 Sporting CP 27 (3)
1997–1999 Deportivo 31 (2)
1999–2001 Coventry City 62 (12)
2001–2004 Aston Villa 35 (2)
2004 Espanyol 16 (1)
2004–2005 Emirates Club 15 (5)
2005–2007 1. FC Saarbrücken 54 (10)
2007–2010 Fola Esch 44 (25)
Total 418 (91)
National team
1993–2004 Morocco 63 (13)
Teams managed
2012–2013 Umm Salal (assistant)
2014– Morocco (assistant)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 1 July 2009
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 24 January 2010

Mustapha Hadji (born 16 November 1971) is a retired Moroccan footballer and the current assistant manager of the Morocco national team. He was named the 50th greatest African player of all time by the African football expert Ed Dove.[1]

Early life

Hadji was born in Ifrane Atlas-Saghir, Morocco. He emigrated with his family to France at the age of ten.[citation needed]

Club career

Hadji began playing football in France. He signed his first contract with AS Nancy, where he spent his first season as a youth player before joining the senior squad in his second year with the club.

After playing five seasons for Nancy, Hadji joined Sporting Lisbon and then Deportivo la Coruña, but it was with Coventry City where he became well known, especially in Britain, after he was signed by Gordon Strachan in 1999.

Hadji was a goal-scoring attacking midfielder with great pace and skill. At Coventry, he was joined by Moroccan international, Youssef Chippo, sparking a brief trend for City fans to wear fezzes to games in their honour.[citation needed] After Coventry were relegated in 2001, he joined local rivals Aston Villa, having scored against them three times in the previous season. But after only playing sporadically, scoring in the league against Southampton[2] and Everton[3] and once in the UEFA Cup against Varteks,[4] he was released on a free transfer to Espanyol in Spain where he remained until June 2004.[5]

Hadji later played for Al Ain in the United Arab Emirates, where he remained for one year before returning to Europe. In 2005, he signed a two-year contract with Saarbrücken in the German Second Division.[6] At the request of the coach Horst Ehrmantraut, Hadji made a midfield pairing with another Moroccan international, Faysal El Idrissi. On 4 August 2005, Hadji made his début for Saarbrücken, on the first day of the 2. Bundesliga season, against Bochum, losing the match 4–0. After another defeat, Ehrmantraut was sacked. Rudi Bommer took over as coach and Saarbrücken lost 2–1 after extra time in the second round of the German Cup against Unterhaching. Hadji scored to give his team the lead, but was sent off in the 85th minute and was suspended for three cup matches by the German Football Association.[citation needed]

In August 2007, Hadji signed for Fola Esch, in Luxembourg's First Division.[7] He ended his playing career in July 2010.

International career

At the 1994 FIFA World Cup, Hadji played in all three group games for Morocco, two as substitute. In Morocco's third game against the Netherlands, Hadji set up the equalizer for Hassan Nader with his first touch after coming on as substitute. Despite this, Morocco lost all three games and were eliminated. Hadji scored a great goal in Morocco's 2–2 draw with Norway in the 1998 FIFA World Cup but Morocco again failed to qualify for the knock-out stages. He was named African Footballer of the Year after the World Cup in France.

He played in 13 FIFA World Cup qualification matches.[8]

Other projects

Hadji was selected as an ambassador for the 2010 World Cup by FIFA to represent Africa. He is also involved in a partnership with plans to invest in Morocco, thus providing opportunities for the local people, to help rid poverty from his homeland.

Hadji is also a supporter of the charity Show Racism The Red Card.

He would have been ambassador for the 2026 FIFA World Cup, representing his country if Morocco had been selected as the host.

Managerial career

Umm Salal

He was appointed as an assistant manager at Qatari club Umm Salal by the manager Bertrand Marchand in the 2012–13 Qatar Stars League. The whole staff was sacked after the team finished fifth and failed to qualify for the 2014 AFC Champions League.[9]


He was appointed as an assistant manager for the Morocco national team by manager Badou Ezzaki before the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations.[10] Morocco withdrew as hosts following the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and were suspended from the tournament.

Personal life

His younger brother Youssouf Hadji was also a Moroccan international and last played for Nancy in France.

Hadji's son Samir Hadji plays for Fola Esch in the Luxembourg First Division. Another son, Zachary Hadji, plays for SV Röchling in Germany.


Aston Villa


  1. ^ "The 50 Greatest African Players of All Time". Bleacher Report. 25 September 2013. Retrieved 26 September 2013.
  2. ^ "Angel strike sinks Saints". BBC. 24 September 2001. Retrieved 13 November 2009.
  3. ^ "Schmeichel strike in vain". BBC. 20 October 2001. Retrieved 13 November 2009.
  4. ^ "Villa leave it too late". BBC. 27 September 2001. Retrieved 13 November 2009.
  5. ^ "Mustapha Hadji is Africa's new king" (in German). January 1999. Retrieved 7 July 2012.
  6. ^ "Mustapha Hadji kommt zum 1. FCS" (in German). 1 July 2005. Retrieved 7 July 2012.
  7. ^ "Abschied aus Esch" (in German). Archived from the original on 17 July 2012. Retrieved 7 July 2012.
  8. ^ Mustapha HadjiFIFA competition record (archive)
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 8 September 2014. Retrieved 7 September 2014.
  10. ^ [1]
  11. ^ "Angel carries Villa home". Telegraph. 21 August 2001. Retrieved 12 September 2018.

External links

  • Mustapha Hadji at
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