Ahmed Hossam 'Mido' discusses Olympique de Marseille's European hopes.
By Matt Spiro
Ahmed Hossam 'Mido' may be just 20 years old, but the Olympique de Marseille striker has already seen action with top clubs in Belgium, the Netherlands and Spain.
The Egyptian international, who moved to the Stade Vélodrome from Ajax in the summer, now hopes to use that experience to help the French club into the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League. uefa.com spoke to Mido ahead of Wednesday's key Group F match against FC Porto.
uefa.com: Marseille suffered a shock 4-1 defeat by RC Strasbourg on Friday. Has that affected confidence ahead of the Porto game?
Mido: I don't think so. I was suspended for the match but I watched it and I thought we played well. Strasbourg are very strong at home and they just played a good game. That can happen in football. But we don't have time to feel sorry for ourselves because we have a tough series of matches coming up against Porto, [Stade] Rennais [FC], AS Monaco [FC] and then Porto again.
uefa.com: With Real Madrid [CF] favourites to win Group F, do you think the two ties against Porto will be decisive for qualification?
Mido: I don't think you can say that. Somebody will beat Madrid and that will make the group more open. It's not just between us and Porto for second place - Partizan have a chance and Madrid still have to win the group. Of course, the matches against Porto are important and we know they'll be difficult. They're a very good side with lots of experience of European football. But we're at home on Wednesday so we have to try to win.
uefa.com: What are your memories of Marseille's first Champions League game this season against Madrid in the Santiago Bernabéu?
Mido: It was a terrific match and I think we played well. Many of our players were playing in Europe for the first time and yet for the first 30 minutes we looked the better team. We took the lead but then Madrid came back strongly and won 4-2. That's why they're such a good side. They have the best players in the world but they also have the experience and know exactly what to do.
uefa.com: Your strike partner Didier Drogba has won a lot of plaudits after scoring four Champions League goals in two games. What's he like to play with?
Mido: I really enjoy playing with Didier and I think we complement each other well. Like a lot of African strikers he is very strong, but he has other attributes too. He has the instincts of a true scorer - he seems to smell the goal. He is also very fast and has a good technique.
uefa.com: Having arrived in Marseille in the summer, are you satisfied that you have made the right move?
Mido: I think it was a good step for me because the club is moving in the right direction. They have brought in a lot of new players and there is a feeling that something good is starting. I've already played in Holland, Belgium and Spain so it would be good for me to settle here. I could have stayed in Spain or I could have moved to a club in England or Italy, but I think playing in France will allow me to get good experience and become a more rounded player.