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Football - the unknown star: Mokhtar lives his dream in America - sport

Football – the unknown star: Mokhtar lives his dream in America – sport

NASHVILLE (AP) – Hani Mokhtar is Nashville’s highest-paid soccer player, and was No. 2 in the vote for Major League Soccer’s top professional last year — and almost unknown in Germany.

“It’s not so bad for me. I’m enjoying life here, it’s really beautiful. I’m living my dream, playing football in America. Not many can say that,” the attacking player told dpa before the start of the season. The weekend kicks off in Seattle. “A lot of people say it’s a boring role and a role for seniors. I don’t see it that way, I can develop here too.”

The fact that Mokhtar is largely unknown in Germany is that Major League Soccer still only sparks interest when a big name from European soccer moves in there – see Bastian Schweinsteiger, Zlatan Ibrahimovic or David Beckham. But the league has a different claim, in 2026 the United States will host the World Cup with Canada and Mexico. There are still pros for the greater part of their careers, like ex-Bundesliga pro Xherdan Shaqiri, who went to Chicago Fire. But increasingly there are stories like that of Alphonso Davies.

Mokhtar played in the youth team of Hertha Berlin

The Canadian full-back was still a special case in 2018 when he moved from MLS to FC Bayern Munich. However, the transfers of Ricardo Pepe to FC Augsburg, Kevin Paredes to Wolfsburg and George Bello to Armenia Bielefeld during the German winter break are all indications that the Bundesliga, like other major European leagues, is now recognizing the MLS as a talented collector. People who want to develop in North America. This in turn helps attract players like Mokhtar, who after coaching at Hertha Berlin’s youth team won titles in Portugal, Austria and Denmark at the height of his footballing age at the age of 26.

Berliner sees the skills of the major European championships, but does not feel any pressure. “I am convinced that I have the ability to play in Europe. Should you be? No, I feel good here. I can continue my career here too, and I have no problem with that at all,” he said. “It’s a very exciting league, very attractive football every week and there are a lot of goals. Teams play to win, and you see a lot of talent in the league. It is growing and will get better and better over the course of the season. The next few years.”

A star in Nashville SC

Mukhtar is the player they’ve built the team around in Nashville for the past two years and benefits from a special role that was offered to Beckham once he was introduced. As a “player specific”, only a small portion of his salary is included in the maximum that each team must meet, which is about five million dollars. Each team can have a maximum of three professionals on the team, who earn much more than the other players.

For Mokhtar, that was $1.505 million last season – five of his younger teammates, on the other hand, earned only the minimum wage of $63,547. “This is not a big problem for us in training or in the dressing room,” said Mukhtar. “At the end of the day it is an honor and you try to live up to this honor.”

Last season in particular, the pro did this very well with a lot of intelligence. In 33 matches, he scored 19 goals and ten assists, and came in second place in the selection of the best player. However, in the quarter-final en route to the hoped-for championship after his opening goal in original time, there was also a wasted attempt on penalties and a loss to Philadelphia Union over defender Kai Wagner. “It was very bitter,” Mukhtar said. Because: “I’m taking it very seriously here, I want to improve, and I also want to achieve something with the team.”

© dpa-infocom, dpa: 220223-99-247326 / 2