Firas Al-Khatib

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Firas Al Khatib
Firas Khatib.jpg
Al-Khatib with Syria in 2010
Personal information
Full name Firas Mohamad Al Khatib
Date of birth (1983-06-09) 9 June 1983 (age 38)
Place of birth Homs, Syria
Height 1.75 m (5 ft 9 in)
Position(s) Forward
Club information
Current team
Al-Karamah (head coach)
Youth career
1994–1999 Al-Karamah
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1999–2002 Al-Karamah 39 (21)
2002–2003 Al-Naser 21 (13)
2003–2009 Al-Arabi 196 (186)
2005Al-Ahli (loan) 1 (0)
2009–2011 Al-Qadsia 23 (17)
2011–2012 Umm Salal 6 (1)
2012 Al-Qadsia 8 (4)
2012–2013 Zakho 7 (2)
2013–2014 Shanghai Shenhua 41 (12)
2014–2016 Al-Arabi 59 (51)
2016–2017 Al-Kuwait 18 (13)
2017–2019 Al-Salmiya 16 (11)
Total 435 (331)
National team
1999–2001 Syria U17 23 (17)
2001–2003 Syria U20 33 (39)
2003–2004 Syria U23 24 (11)
2001–2019 Syria 72 (36)
Teams managed
2019–2020 Al-Salmiya (assistant)
2021– Al-Karamah
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Firas Mohamad Al Khatib (Arabic: فراس محمد الخطيب‎; born 9 June 1983) is a Syrian former footballer who mainly played as a forward.[1] He is the Syria national team all-time top goalscorer, with 36 goals.[2]

Club career[edit]

Al Khatib at Al-Qadsia.

Early life[edit]

Al-Khatib began playing football at Al-Karamah SC, he was included in the club's categories U-14, with whom he played for two seasons. One of the most important achievements of Al Khatib with youth Al Karamah was the victory of the Republic Cup and the title of the league's top scorer twice 1994–95, 1995–96. He then went on to play for Al Karamah U-17 in 1997, where he was crowned with the league title in the same year.

He also won the top scorer title. All this helped the young boy reach the youth team. During two seasons with U-19 team, he managed to win the league title and the second scorer.[3]

Al Karamah[edit]

Al Khatib started his professional career in the Syrian Premier League with Al-Karamah in the Season 1999–2000. On 6 October 2000, he scored his first goal in the Syrian Premier League against Al-Futowa which 1–1 finished.

During 2001, he spent two trials in Belgium; first with Gent and the second with Anderlecht.

Al Naser[edit]

In August 2002, he transferred to Kuwaiti Club Al-Naser, and played in Kuwaiti Premier League for the first time. He then moved to Al-Arabi, which also competed in the Kuwaiti Premier League.

Al Arabi[edit]

With Al-Arabi he won the Kuwait Emir Cup three times, the Kuwait Crown Prince Cup twice and the Kuwait Super Cup once. He also scored 134 goals for the club and became a legend in the club.

On June 2005, he was loaned out to Al-Ahli in Qatar for one match, and played alongside Pep Guardiola.

Qadsia[edit]

On 24 August 2009, Al Khatib signed a two-year contract with Al-Qadsia in the Kuwaiti Premier League and played alongside his old teammate Jehad Al-Hussain.[4]

In July 2012, he participated in three games with Nottingham Forest, scoring once in a trial of month.[5] He impressed manager Sean O'Driscoll enough that the club were looking to sign him on a permanent basis but he was denied a work permit and the club was unable to sign him.[6]

Zakho[edit]

On 10 September 2012, he tweeted that he signed with Iraqi Premier League club Zakho FC officially.

Shanghai Shenhua[edit]

He left Iraq to join Sergio Batista's Chinese Super League side Shanghai Shenhua at February 2013. He scored his first goal in his Chinese Super League debut.

Return to Al Arabi[edit]

He became a free agent at the end of the 2013–14 football season and returned to Kuwait. He declined an offer from Kuwait SC and joined Al-Arabi SC on a 2-year deal.

During the first derby against Al-Salmiya SC, Al-Khatib scored his 100th league goal, but Al-Arabi SC lost the match 3–2.[7]

Al-Khatib ended the season with 20 goals and shared the VIVA Premier League 2014–15 top league scorer with Patrick Fabiano. His total goal tally in all competitions was 24 goals. In 2015–16, he was selected in the VIVS Premier League 1st Team alongside teammate Ali Maqseed. Al-Khatib also won the VPL Golden Boot and top scorer of Al-Arabi with 27 goals; his highest tally in any season with any team.

Al Salmiya[edit]

In September 2017, he joined to Al-Salmiya, and scored 11 goals in his Kuwaiti Premier League. He became the best goalscorer in Kuwait Premier League history after he scored 147 goals, exceeding many Kuwaiti legends.[8]

Retirement[edit]

On 29 September 2019, Al-Khatib announced his retirement from football after spending the whole summer without a club.[9] He finished his career scoring 349 goals[a] to achieve the 19th place in the list of world's best goal scorer of 21st century,[10][11] as well as being the all-time top scorer of all Kuwaiti domestic competitions with 210 goals.[12]

International career[edit]

Between 2001 and 2002, Al-Khatib played for the Syrian U-17 team. He played for Syria in the AFC U-17 Championship 2002 in the United Arab Emirates and was part of the Syrian U-23 team that participated in the AFC Olympic qualification campaign for the 2004 Summer Olympics.

Al-Khatib was a regular for the Syria national football team from 2001 to 2012. His international debut was at the FIFA World Cup qualification 2002,[13] when he came on as a substitute for Khaled Al Zaher in the match against Philippine on 4 May 2001 in the Al-Hamadaniah Stadium in Aleppo. On 11 May 2001 he scored one goal in the FIFA World Cup qualification 2002 match against Laos the match was finished 9–0 for Syria.

From 2012 to 2017, Al-Khatib boycotted the Syrian national football team to protest president Bashar al-Assad and his government's airstrikes against Al-Khatib's hometown of Homs. On 23 March 2017, al-Khatib re-joined Syrian national football team and expressed support for Assad.[14]

He was not included in the final squad of 2019 AFC Asian Cup after getting injured about a month before the tournament, although, he claimed that he was capable of participating if the manager called him because his injury was minor and he could be part of the second match at least. It was really disappointing to him as he mentioned many times on Bein Sports as he was one of the pundits there during the tournament.[15] He was one of the first people who asked to sack Stange after the lost against Jordan.[16] In an interview diffused 20th of March 2019, he denied any rows between players about the captaincy before and during Asian cup 2019, and denied also what Omar Al Somah said earlier about falling out for the captaincy armband.[17]

On 5 September 2019, Al Khatib played against Philippine in the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification; hence he became the first Asian and seventh footballer in total to participate in six different World Cup qualifiers, other footballers are: Gianluigi Buffon, Essam El Hadary, Pat Jennings, Russell Latapy, Víctor René Mendieta Ocampo and Dwight Yorke.[18][19]

Managerial career[edit]

In 2019–20, Al Khatib became an assistant coach at Al-Salmiya.[20] In June 2021, he was appointed as the head coach of his hometown club Al Karamah.[21]

Career statistics[edit]

International matches[edit]

As of 5 September 2019[22]
Syria
Year Apps Goals
2001 2 1
2002 7 5
2003 5 5
2004 4 1
2006 7 5
2008 8 3
2009 7 6
2010 3 0
2011 5 1
2017 9 2
2018 2 1
2019 13 6
Total 72 36

International goals[edit]

Scores and results list Syria's goal tally first.[22][23][24]
No Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1. 11 May 2001 Al-Hamadaniah Stadium, Aleppo, Syria  Laos 8–0 9–0 2002 FIFA World Cup qualification
2. 9 December 2002 Bahrain National Stadium, Riffa, Bahrain  Bahrain 1–0 3–2 Friendly
3. 3–2
4. 17 December 2002 Kuwait National Stadium, Kuwait City, Kuwait  Yemen 1–0 3–2 2002 Arab Nations Cup
5. 3–2
6. 21 December 2002  Lebanon 1–0 4–1
7. 15 October 2003 Abbasiyyin Stadium, Damascus, Syria  Sri Lanka 5–0 5–0 2004 AFC Asian Cup qualification
8. 18 October 2003 1–0 8–0
9. 3–0
10. 4–0
11. 7 November 2003  United Arab Emirates 1–0 1–1
12. 26 March 2004  Palestine 1–0 1–1 Friendly
13. 7 February 2006 3–0 3–0
14. 22 February 2006 Al-Hamadaniah Stadium, Aleppo, Syria  South Korea 1–1 1–2 2007 AFC Asian Cup qualification
15. 1 March 2006 Zhongshan Soccer Stadium, Taipei, Taiwan  Chinese Taipei 4–0 4–0
16. 15 November 2006 Abbasiyyin Stadium, Damascus, Syria 2–0 3–0
17. 3–0
18. 8 June 2008 Thamir Stadium, Salmiya, Kuwait  Kuwait 1–1 2–4 2010 FIFA World Cup qualification
19. 2–2
20. 29 December 2008 Bahrain National Stadium, Riffa, Bahrain  Bahrain 1–0 2–2 Friendly
21. 14 January 2009 Aleppo International Stadium, Aleppo, Syria  China PR 3–0 3–2 2011 AFC Asian Cup qualification
22. 18 January 2009 Al-Sadaqua Walsalam Stadium, Kuwait City, Kuwait  Turkmenistan 4–1 5–1 Friendly
23. 5–1
24. 23 January 2009 Al-Sadaqua Walsalam Stadium, Kuwait City, Kuwait  Kuwait 3–2 3–2
25. 28 January 2009 Saida International Stadium, Sidon, Lebanon  Lebanon 2–0 2–0 2011 AFC Asian Cup qualification
26. 27 January 2009 Saputo Stadium, Montreal, Canada  Haiti 2–0 2–1 Friendly
27. 13 January 2011 Qatar SC Stadium, Doha, Qatar  Japan 1–1 1–2 2011 AFC Asian Cup
28. 26 August 2017 Hang Jebat Stadium, Malacca, Malaysia  Iraq 1–0 1–1 Friendly
29. 13 November 2017 Karbala Sports City, Karbala, Iraq 1–0 1–1
30. 27 March 2018 Basra Sports City, Basra, Iraq 1–1 1–1 2018 International Friendship Championship
31. 23 March 2019  Jordan 1–0 1–0 2019 International Friendship Championship
32. 8 July 2019 The Arena, Ahmedabad, India  North Korea 5–2 5–2 2019 Hero Intercontinental Cup
33. 16 July 2019  India 1–1 1–1
34. 5 August 2019 Karbala Sports City, Karbala, Iraq  Yemen 1–1 1–1 2019 WAFF Championship
35. 11 August 2019  Palestine 2–3 3–4
36. 5 September 2019 Panaad Stadium, Bacolod, Philippines  Philippines 3–1 5–2 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification

Honours[edit]

Club[edit]

Al-Arabi[25]

Al-Qadsia[25]

Kuwait SC

International[edit]

Syria[25]

Individual[edit]

Personal life[edit]

He is married and has 6 children.[26]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ 344 goals were scored in the 21st century, while 5 others were in the 20th century.[10]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Firas Al Khatib – Player profile". kooora.com (in Arabic). Retrieved 14 April 2011.
  2. ^ "Syria - Record International Players". www.rsssf.com. Retrieved 22 March 2021.
  3. ^ "Al-Khatib began playing football at Al-Karama Club". babonej.com (in Arabic).
  4. ^ "Al Khatib moved to Al-Qadsia" (in Arabic). kooora.com. 23 August 2009. Retrieved 10 May 2011.
  5. ^ "Syrian player to join England's Nottingham Forest FC, now owned by Kuwait". العربية. 12 July 2012.
  6. ^ McDaid, Paul (22 August 2012). "Nottingham Forest fail to land work permits for Kuwaiti trio". Sport360.com. Archived from the original on 27 August 2012. Retrieved 12 January 2013.
  7. ^ "Feras's 100th league goal". kooora.com. Retrieved 28 September 2014.
  8. ^ السوري الخطيب يدخل تاريخ الدوري الكويتي. alaraby.co.uk (in Arabic). 20 October 2017.
  9. ^ "Syria record goalscorer Firas Al Khatib hangs up his boots at 36". Fox Sports Asia. Retrieved 30 September 2019.
  10. ^ a b "The World's Best Goal Scorer of XXIst Century". IFFHS. 20 February 2021.
  11. ^ فراس الخطيب أفضل الهدافين العرب في الألفية الثالثة. alwatanonline.com (in Arabic). 9 January 2021. Archived from the original on 10 January 2021.
  12. ^ 10 أهداف تفصل المطوع عن إنجاز فريد. kooora.com (in Arabic). 4 January 2021.
  13. ^ Firas Al KhatibFIFA competition record (archived)
  14. ^ "A bloody, violent fight for the soul of soccer in Syria". ESPN.com.
  15. ^ "- YouTube". www.youtube.com.
  16. ^ "- YouTube". www.youtube.com.
  17. ^ فراس الخطيب : دعونا من الماضي ولنستفيد من أخطاءه – via www.youtube.com.
  18. ^ فراس الخطيب "مدمن" تحطيم الأرقام القياسية مع منتخب سوريا والأندية الكويتية. beinsports (in Arabic). 6 September 2019.
  19. ^ فراس الخطيب... هذا النجم الذهبيّ. almayadeen (in Arabic). 8 September 2019.
  20. ^ فراس الخطيب يستقيل من الجهاز التدريبي للسالمية الكويتي. almashhadonline.com (in Arabic). 4 February 2020.
  21. ^ فراس الخطيب مدربًا للكرامة. kooora.com (in Arabic). 8 June 2021.
  22. ^ a b Földesi, László (13 September 2018). "Firas Al Khatib - Goals in International Matches". RSSSF.
  23. ^ "Firas Al-Khatib". national-football-teams.com.
  24. ^ "Firas Al-Khatib – International goals". kooora.com (in Arabic). Retrieved 10 May 2011.
  25. ^ a b c Firas Al-Khatib at Soccerway
  26. ^ اللاعب السوري فراس الخطيب أب لستة أطفال. almjhar.com (in Arabic).

External links[edit]