BY ZULHILMI ZAINAL Follow on Twitter
Fans may have seen the last of former Kelantan star Mohammed Ghaddar in the country, but the Lebanese striker only looks back fondly at his time in the Malaysian league.
Over the span of seven seasons beginning in 2012, Ghaddar turned out for Kelantan in four separate stints, and for Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT) teams for two seasons.
In total he won two Super League titles, two Malaysia Cup titles and the FA Cup twice, which was capped off by the 2019 Challenge Cup, which he won with JDT II.
It is unlikely that the 36-year old will return to these shores, but in an interview with FALebanon.com, he only has praise for the Malaysian competition, and the way it is run.
"Many good players came to Malaysia but didn’t stay because they couldn’t cope with the conditions or the footballing system. Personally, I encountered a lot of difficulties in the early stages of my stint at Kelantan. In the end, I was selected as Player of the Season after helping my team win the domestic double. It was my performance during this season that convinced me to stay for seven years in Malaysia.
“I am very satisfied with my time in Malaysia. Winning seven domestic titles and being selected as the best player of the season twice in a foreign country is something to be proud of.
“After suffering an ACL injury in my last season with Kelantan (2018), I joined Johor (JDT) II, won the Challenge Cup and ended the season as the second top scorer of the league. That season means a lot to me.
“The Malaysia Super League is a very good competition and is currently evolving. The clubs have great facilities that bond well with their professional mentality and that’s why they are now playing in the AFC Champions League.
“We have very talented Lebanese players and they might shine if they play in foreign leagues. But as a team player, the Malaysian will always stand out more. In general, football in East Asia is evolving fast while we are happy just to draw with Korea Republic,” expressed the Lebanese.
In the same interview, he also remarked that he may retire if he does not receive any foreign offers, or get to once again play for his boyhood club.
"I would not play with any other Lebanese club than Nejmeh. If I don’t have an agreement with a foreign club, I’ll either play for Nejmeh or retire. Nejmeh are the only club that can take the credit for the making of Mohammed Ghaddar; and by Nejmeh I mean the club, not some people in the administration.”
“I am heavily considering retirement. Since I won’t be playing for Nejmeh, I intend to stay away from football if I retire. I have a small personal business that I want to focus on.
"...I think about staying in Malaysia and using the fame I’ve cultivated there but I don’t want to spend more time away from my family and I don’t want my kids to grow in another environment/culture. You start to see things differently as you grow up,” revealed Ghaddar.
The FALebanon.com story also noted that Ghaddar was listed in Goal's Malaysia Super League Foreign Players Team of the Decade (2010-2019).
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