Talal El Karkouri

Talal El Karkouri

El Karkouri lining up for Morocco in 2009
Personal information
Date of birth (1976-07-08) 8 July 1976
Place of birth Casablanca, Morocco
Height 1.86 m (6 ft 1 in)
Playing position Centre-back
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1996–1999 Raja Casablanca ? (?)
1999–2004 Paris Saint-Germain 77 (1)
2000–2001Aris (loan) 11 (0)
2003Sunderland (loan) 8 (0)
2004–2007 Charlton Athletic 78 (8)
2006Al Gharafa (loan)
2007–2011 Qatar SC 77 (12)
2011–2012 Umm-Salal 0 (0)
Total 251 (21)
National team
2000–2009 Morocco 53 (1)

* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

Talal El Karkouri (Arabic: طلال القرقوري, born 8 July 1976 in Casablanca) is a Moroccan former professional footballer. He played top-flight football in Morocco, France, Greece, England and Qatar before retiring in 2012. He made his international debut for Morocco in 2000, and earned 53 caps, playing at three Africa Cup of Nations.

Club career

Early career

He started his career with Raja Casablanca, and was discovered by French giants Paris Saint-Germain in 2000. He played in the UEFA Cup and UEFA Champions League, but after failing to capture a regular place he was sent on loan to Aris in Greece.

On 31 January 2003 he was loaned to Sunderland[1] of the Premier League until the end of the season. His spell was affected by injury, and he was released on 26 May after the club were relegated.[2] The Black Cats lost in all eight of his appearances.[3]


In the summer of 2004, he was bought by Charlton Athletic of the Premier League for £1 million.[4] He scored 5 goals in his debut season at Charlton, starting with the only goal in a win over Blackburn Rovers on 27 September 2004, by heading Danny Murphy's corner.[5] He also scored the club's goal of the season against Arsenal.

On 6 April 2006, having made only 12 appearances all season, he was loaned to Al Gharafa in Qatar.[6]

On 30 December 2006, El Karkouri was given a yellow card by referee Rob Styles for an act of simulation in a home match against Aston Villa involving Villa defender Olof Mellberg. He was accused of a similar act against Reading on 9 April 2007 later in the same season, this time involving Reading striker Leroy Lita, who headbutted him.

Reading boss Steve Coppell accused El Karkouri of faking a 'death roll' and claimed that he would have needed treatment in intensive care had Lita headbutted him.[7] Lita urged the FA to do something about 'diving cheats' after being hit with the ban. He said "I didn't touch him, he went down like an idiot and it was cheating".[8] The FA disagreed and banned the Reading striker for 3 games for violent conduct. Coppell did not apologise for his comments.


On 10 June 2007, following his release and Charlton's relegation, El Karkouri signed a two-year contract with Qatar Sports Club.[9]

On 11 September 2011, after 4 seasons with Qatar SC, El Karkouri signed a one-year deal with another Qatari club, Umm-Salal.[10]

On 25 May 2012, El Karkouri announced his retirement from professional football.

International career

El Karkouri was capped 53 times and scored 1 goal for Morocco. He was part of the team that finished second in the 2004 African Nations Cup.

On 29 January 2008 he announced his retirement from international football, after his team's failure to qualify for the latter stages of the 2008 African Nations Cup, but he returned on 28 March 2009 playing the 2010 World Cup qualifications match against Gabon in Casablanca.


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