In one of the many rooms in the Cornelia Diamond hotel, the Dutch and Turkish press gathers. On the press day, the reporters interviewed several Ajax players. Ajax.nl spoke with Mounir El Hamdaoui.
Mounir El Hamdaoui trained on Friday in the gym with physio therapist Frank van Deursen. The forward is suffering from a light irritation to his right knee. “My knee is still bothering me, but fortunately, it’s getting better”, says El Hamdaoui as he sits on one of the benches.
With 22 fellow Ajax players, he’s participating in the training camp in Belek. The intensive week of training suits him just fine. “The training facilities here are very good. I hadn’t been in Turkey before. It’s very nice here.”
During the first half of his first season with Ajax, El Hamdaoui showed that he’s a very gifted player technically. With a pure form of elegance and tactical smarts, he produced one goal after the other, and created several true beauties. Ajax’s most productive player has scored fifteen times to date (11 x Eredivisie, 2x Champions League, 2x KNVB cup).
He hasn’t seen action since the Champions League match against AC Milan in December, and reported to Ajax for duty after the winter break. “I had a good conversation with the coach”, he says. “We both had our say, and cleared the air.”
El Hamdaoui is positive about the second half of the season. “I hope it goes well. We need to pick up where we left off and hopefully we can crown that with the championship.”
Ajax will travel on Saturday to Istanbul for the friendly match against Galatasaray. The duel marks the opening of the new Galatasaray stadium. The friendly match against the Turkish club begins at 8.45p.m. (7.45p.m. Dutch time) in the Turk Telecom Arena. The match can be seen live on Eredivisie Live.