It has to be a nightmare for Egyptian-born soccer player Stephan Kareem el-Shaarawy, 25, when Italy failed to qualify for the world cup.
Stephan el-Shaarawy, who is born to an Egyptian father and an Italian mother, was asked to play for Egypt’s national team but he turned the “Pharaohs” down since they failed to make it to the Mundial for 28 years, and chose to play for Italy.
El-Shaarawy chose to play for Italy, to ensure his participation in the 2018 World Cup, as Egypt had to confront tough competition making qualifying for World Cup difficult and highly improbable.
But against all odds, the Azzurris loss for the first time in 60 years, and Egypt’s qualifying for the World Cup also for the first time in 28 years, was not the scenario he anticipated.
Egyptian officials tried years ago to include El-Shaarawy among Egypt's team, but the player preferred to join the Azzurris by virtue of his Italian nationality, his presence in the U-17 youth team at the time, and his desire to play in the ranks of the Italian team at the World Cup.
El-Shaarawy is currently playing as a forward for with A.S. Roma team. He was one of the youngest players to play in the Italian league, as he played his first match with Genoa on December 21, 2008 when he was 16 years old.
He started to shine in 2007 and major clubs such as Arsenal and Real Madrid tried to include him in the summer of 2010 but the player refused to remain in Italy.
El-Shaarawy said in a previous interview that he loves the Egyptian player Mohamed Salah, who has also joined Roma team.
He expressed his strong connection with Egypt, the birthplace of his father, who is from Tanta, Gharbia governorate, but does not know Arabic, so his father translates for him fan messages coming from Egypt.