Mustapha Hadji

Not to be confused with Mustafa Haji Abdinur.
Mustapha Hadji
مصطفى حجي

Hadji in 2012
Personal information
Date of birth (1971-11-16) 16 November 1971
Place of birth Ifrane Atlas-Saghir, Morocco
Height 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
Playing position Midfielder
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1991–1996 Nancy 134 (31)
1996–1997 Sporting CP 27 (3)
1997–1999 Deportivo 31 (2)
1999–2001 Coventry City 62 (12)
2001–2004 Aston Villa 35 (2)
2004 Espanyol 16 (1)
2004–2005 Emirates Club 15 (5)
2005–2007 1. FC Saarbrücken 54 (10)
2007–2010 Fola Esch 44 (25)
Total 418 (91)
National team
1993–2004 Morocco 63 (13)
Teams managed
2012–2013 Umm Salal (assistant)
2014– Morocco (assistant)

* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 1 July 2009.

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 24 January 2010

Mustapha Hadji (born 16 November 1971 in Ifrane Atlas-Saghir) is a retired Moroccan footballer and current assistant manager of Morocco national team. He was named the 50th greatest African player of all time by African football expert Ed Dove.[1]

Early life

Hadji was born in Ifrane Atlas-Saghir, Morocco. He emigrated with his family to France when he reached the age of ten.

Club career

Hadji began playing football in France. He signed his first contract with AS Nancy where he spent his first season as a youth player before joining the senior squad in his second year with the club.

After playing five seasons for AS Nancy, Hadji joined Sporting and then Deportivo, but it was with Coventry City where he became well known, especially in Britain. After an impressive 1998 FIFA World Cup, where Hadji scoring a memorable goal against Norway, he became much sought after, especially after being named African Footballer of the Year in 1998. He was signed a year later by Gordon Strachan for Coventry.

Hadji was a goal-scoring attacking midfielder with great pace and skillful runs. At Coventry, he was joined by Moroccan international, Youssef Chippo, sparking a brief trend for City fans to wear fezzes to games in their honor. After Coventry were relegated in 2001, he joined local rivals Aston Villa, having scored against them three times in the previous season. But after only playing sporadically, scoring twice in the league against Southampton[2] and Everton[3] and once in the UEFA Cup against Varteks,[4] he was released on a free transfer to Espanyol in Spain in 2004 where he remained until June 2004.[5]

Hadji has since played for Al Ain FC in United Arab Emirates where he remained for one year before returning to Europe. In 2005, he signed a two-year contract with 1. FC Saarbrücken (then in the 2. Bundesliga).[6] At the request of then-coach Horst Ehrmanntraut Hadji should make a midfield pair with Faysal El Idriss. On 4 August 2005, Hadji debuted for Saarbrücken, on the first matchday of the 2. Bundesliga against VfL Bochum. The match was lost with 0–4. After another defeat, Ehrmanntraut was sacked. After the team was briefly managed by coach Fuchs, Rudi Bommer took over as coach. Saarbrücken lost in the second round of the DFB-Pokal against then league rivals from SpVgg Unterhaching 1–2 aet. In this encounter, Hadji scored the temporary 1–0 lead his team, but was sent off in the 85th minute. He was suspended for three cup matches by the DFB.

In August 2007, Hadji signed for CS Fola Esch, a team currently playing in the Luxembourg's first-tier BGL Ligue.[7] He ended his playing career in July 2010.

International career

At the 1994 FIFA World Cup, Hadji played in all three group games for Morocco, two as substitute. In Morocco's third game against the Netherlands, Hadji set up the equalizer for Hassan Nader with his first touch after coming on as substitute. Despite this, Morocco lost all three games and was eliminated. Hadji scored a great goal in Morocco's 2–2 draw with Norway in the 1998 FIFA World Cup. He was named African footballer of the year after a brilliant World Cup in France.

He played in 13 FIFA World Cup qualification matches.[8]

Other projects

Recent events for Hadji included being selected for Ambassadorship during the 2010 World Cup by FIFA to represent Africa. Hadji is also involved in a partnership with plans to invest in Morocco, thus making opportunities for the local people, as he's aiming to help rid poverty from his homeland.

Hadji is also a supporter of Show Racism The Red Card charity.

Managerial career

Umm Salal

He was appointed as an assistant manager to Qatari club Umm Salal by the manager Bertrand Marchand in the 2012–13 Qatar Stars League. The whole staff was sacked after the team finished fifth and failed to qualify to 2014 AFC Champions League.[9]


He was appointed as an assistant manager to Morocco national football team by manager Badou Ezzaki to lead the team for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations.[10] Unfortunately, due to Morocco's late withdrawal as hosts following the Ebola outbreak in West Africa they were ultimately suspended from the tournament.

Personal life

His younger brother Youssouf Hadji is also a Moroccan international and currently plays for Nancy in France.

Hadji's son Samir Hadji plays for Fola Esch in the BGL Ligue in Luxembourg. Another son, Zachary Hadji, plays for Metz II in France.[11]


  1. "The 50 Greatest African Players of All Time". Bleacher Report. 25 September 2013. Retrieved 26 September 2013.
  2. "Angel strike sinks Saints". BBC. 24 September 2001. Retrieved 13 November 2009.
  3. "Schmeichel strike in vain". BBC. 20 October 2001. Retrieved 13 November 2009.
  4. "Villa leave it too late". BBC. 27 September 2001. Retrieved 13 November 2009.
  5. "Mustapha Hadji is Africa's new king" (in German). January 1999. Retrieved 7 July 2012.
  6. "Mustapha Hadji kommt zum 1. FCS" (in German). 1 July 2005. Retrieved 7 July 2012.
  7. "Abschied aus Esch" (in German). Retrieved 7 July 2012.
  8. Mustapha HadjiFIFA competition record
  9. "Hadji beim Club: Trainingsgast mit berühmtem Vater". (in German). 12 July 2016. Retrieved 13 July 2016.
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