Hicham Zerouali

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Hicham Zerouali
Personal information
Full name Hicham Zerouali
Date of birth (1977-01-17)17 January 1977
Place of birth Rabat, Morocco
Date of death 5 December 2004(2004-12-05) (aged 27)
Place of death Rabat, Morocco
Height 5 ft 7 in (1.70 m)
Playing position Striker
Youth career
Yaakoub El Mansour
USP Police
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1996–1999 FUS de Rabat
1999–2002 Aberdeen 37 (11)
2002–2003 Al-Nassr
2003–2004 FAR Rabat
National team
1999–2004 Morocco 17 (3)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Hicham Zerouali (Arabic: هشام زروالي‎; born 17 January 1977 – 5 December 2004), nicknamed 'Zero' or the 'Moroccan Magician', was a Moroccan footballer. He played as a forward for clubs in Morocco, Scotland and the United Arab Emirates. He was a Moroccan international who won 17 caps.

Club career[edit]

Aberdeen[edit]

After playing in his native country for Yaakoub El Mansouria and USP Police,[1] Zerouali was signed by Aberdeen manager Ebbe Skovdahl from FUS de Rabat in November 1999 for a fee of £450,000, on the recommendation of the club's director of football, Keith Burkinshaw.[1] He became the first player in Scotland to wear the shirt number '0' in 2000 (something outlawed the following season by the Scottish Premier League and the Premier League in England)[2]

In January 2000, Zerouali scored a thirty-yard free kick in a fourth round Scottish Cup tie away to St Mirren to take the tie to a replay.[3] Zerouali then scored in the 2–0 replay win at Pittodrie to help the club into the next round of the competition. Aberdeen reached both the 2000 Scottish League Cup Final and the 2000 Scottish Cup Final with the Moroccan playing in both matches, although they ended in defeat to Celtic and Rangers respectively.[1]

In August 2000, Zerouali was injured with a broken ankle during a match against Motherwell,[1] and subsequently missed out on a place at the Sydney Olympic Games,[4] and was eventually out of action for a full year. In one of his more memorable outings after his return, he scored a hat-trick against Dundee.[5][6]

Al-Nassr and FAR Rabat[edit]

After his contract at Aberdeen expired, he then moved to play his football in the United Arab Emirates with the team Al-Nassr for a year,[7] before returning to live in his home country of Morocco in 2003, signing for FAR Rabat, where he won the Coupe du Trône that year.[8]

International career[edit]

Zerouali won 17 caps for the Morocco national football team and scored three goals. He featured for Morocco in the 2002 Africa Cup of Nations in Mali, and scored two goals in a 2–1 win over Burkina Faso.[1] He also played in the 1997 FIFA World Youth Championship. He was in the international squad a month before his death.[8]

Death[edit]

Zerouali was killed in a car accident in Rabat in December 2004 aged 27.[8] Only the previous Saturday, he had scored two goals in a league game for his club.[8][1] He is survived by a daughter to his girlfriend in Aberdeen.[8]

A firm fans' favourite at Aberdeen, he was affectionately known as 'Zero' to the supporters.[1] A memorial and tribute was held at Pittodrie Stadium after he died, which was attended by thousands of fans, despite him not playing for the club at the time and only having spent a short period there.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Hicham Zerouali remembered". Aberdeen F.C. 4 December 2014. Retrieved 27 February 2019.
  2. ^ MacKay, Hamish (26 August 2014). "Mario Balotelli's lucky number, Argentina's alphabetical World Cup and Clint Dempsey's rap name... The strangest squad numbers in sport, and the reasoning behind them". Daily Mail. Retrieved 29 August 2014.
  3. ^ "Zero goal sets up Pittodrie replay". AFC Heritage Trust. 29 January 2000. Retrieved 27 February 2019.
  4. ^ "Zero luck for Moroccan". BBC Sport website. 28 August 2000.
  5. ^ "Zero hat-trick dumps Dundee". BBC Sport. 29 September 2001.
  6. ^ "Zero hat trick hero in Dundee". AFC Heritage Trust. 29 September 2001. Retrieved 27 February 2019.
  7. ^ "Zerouali leaves Aberdeen for Al Nasr". BBC Sport. 11 July 2002.
  8. ^ a b c d e "Zerouali killed in car accident". BBC Sport. 6 December 2004. Retrieved 28 August 2013.

External links[edit]