'Ahly the European club of Africa'

CAF Champions League

One of the most sought-after African stars has lauded Al Ahly as a 'European club in African land', after rejecting a high-profile transfer during the off-season.

Tunisia left-back Ali Maaloul joined the Egyptian Premier League champions back in 2016 from CS Sfaxien and has developed into a key figure within the squad.

Last season, after finishing as the club's top scorer in the league with eight goals added to his seven assists in their league-winning season, a host of European clubs enquired about his services.

However, speaking to the club's official website, he explained why he's happy to remain in Cairo over the plying his trade further north.

"It is normal that a player that does well with his team to receive offers from abroad and it happened to me several times but I am bound with a contract with Al Ahly and I respect it," the 29-year-old said.

"When Al Ahly rejected my departure several times I respected their decision and accepted to stay.

"I received an offer from a Ligue 1 club and Al Ahly were open to negotiate at the time but the technical staff turned down the request because they wanted to maintain my services."

He added: "Playing for Al Ahly is a big honour. I feel everybody’s support and I cannot turn down the club’s request to remain.

"I wasn’t angry when Al Ahly refused my departure, I am very happy. Al Ahly is a European club in the African land, there is a lot of things that make you happy to play for this legendary club."

Maaloul has scored 14 goals and registered 30 assists in 104 games for the eight-time African champions.