Anwar El Ghazi (Arabic: أنور الغازي; born 3 May 1995) is a Dutch professional footballer who plays as a winger or a forward.

Anwar El Ghazi
El Ghazi with Ajax in 2015
Personal information
Full name Anwar El Ghazi[1]
Date of birth (1995-05-03) 3 May 1995 (age 29)[2]
Place of birth Barendrecht, Netherlands[2]
Height 1.89 m (6 ft 2 in)[3]
Position(s) Winger, forward
Youth career
2000–2006 BVV Barendrecht
2006–2008 Feyenoord
2008–2009 Spartaan '20
2009–2013 Sparta Rotterdam
2013–2014 Ajax
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2014–2017 Ajax 70 (20)
2017–2019 Lille 39 (5)
2018–2019Aston Villa (loan) 31 (5)
2019–2022 Aston Villa 71 (15)
2022Everton (loan) 2 (0)
2022–2023 PSV 24 (8)
2023 Mainz 05 3 (0)
International career
2011 Netherlands U17 2 (1)
2012–2013 Netherlands U18 3 (2)
2014–2016 Netherlands U21 11 (3)
2015 Netherlands 2 (0)
*Club domestic league appearances and goals, correct as of 6 October 2023
‡ National team caps and goals, correct as of 19:03, 13 October 2015 (UTC)

Club career

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Early career

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El Ghazi began his football career in the youth ranks of his local club BVV Barendrecht, joining the youth academy of Feyenoord for two seasons. He then joined the ranks of Spartaan '20 before being recruited to Sparta Rotterdam, where he progressed through the academy. In 2013, he joined the Ajax Youth Academy, playing for the A1 selection (under-19), competing in the UEFA Youth League.[4]

Ajax

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El Ghazi playing for Ajax in 2015

El Ghazi was signed by Ajax in July 2013.[5] During the 2014–15 pre-season, he scored 8 goals in 150 minutes of playing time, finishing as Ajax's top pre-season scorer. While Ajax initially intended to send El Ghazi to their reserve team, Jong Ajax, El Ghazi's pre-season prompted Ajax to include him in the first-team squad, following the loan of fellow winger Lesley de Sa to Go Ahead Eagles. El Ghazi made his official debut for Ajax in the 2014 Johan Cruyff Shield against PEC Zwolle, coming on for Ricardo Kishna in the 1–0 loss at home.[6]

El Ghazi made his regular season debut for Ajax in the 2014–15 Eredivisie season opener against Vitesse. The match ended in a 4–1 home victory, with El Ghazi providing the assist for the fourth goal by Lasse Schöne in the 87th minute.[7] On 17 August 2014, El Ghazi scored his first Eredivisie goal in the 3–1 away win against AZ, scoring in the 90th minute.[8] He scored his first UEFA Champions League goal on 22 October 2014 at Camp Nou against Barcelona in the 88th minute of a 3–1 loss. In so doing, he became the first player to score at Camp Nou since the beginning of the 2014–15 season, when Barcelona went five matches at home without conceding a goal.[9]

Lille

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On 31 January 2017, it was announced El Ghazi had been sold to French Ligue 1 side Lille for a €8 million transfer fee.[10] On 18 February, he scored his first goal for Lille against Caen, which also became the winner (0–1).[11]

On 6 August 2017, on the first matchday of the 2017–18 season, El Ghazi scored Lille's third goal against Nantes. To celebrate, he took off his shirt to reveal a shirt paying tribute to Abdelhak Nouri, his former Ajax teammate who the month before had collapsed and suffered a cardiac arrhythmia attack, which had left him with severe and permanent brain damage and unable to continue as a footballer.[12] During the 2017–18 season, El Ghazi scored four goals and delivered two assists in 27 appearances. The Dutch striker distinguished himself in particular during the match against RC Strasbourg, on 28 January 2018 at home at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy, where he scored the first goal; a header, after an assist by Nicolas Pépé. He then delivered an assist for the Edgar Ié, sealing the win for Lille.[13]

On 18 February 2018, El Ghazi suffered a hamstring injury against Lyon, sidelining him for several weeks.[14] Due to complications, he did not return until the end of the season, where he struggled to establish himself in head coach Christophe Galtier's starting lineup.[15]

Aston Villa

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On 22 August 2018, El Ghazi signed for Championship club Aston Villa on a season-long loan, with a clause to buy included.[16] He made his debut on 25 August 2018 in a 1–1 draw with Reading, providing an assist by crossing the ball to Ahmed Elmohamady, who scored a header.[17] He scored his first goal for the Villains a week later on 1 September 2018 in a 4–1 defeat to Sheffield United.

On 28 April 2019, in a heated contest between Aston Villa and Championship playoff rivals Leeds United at Elland Road, El Ghazi was mistakenly shown a red card by referee Stuart Attwell. This occurred after El Ghazi allegedly struck Leeds forward Patrick Bamford during an on pitch brawl following Mateusz Klich's controversial 72nd opening goal for Leeds United following Tyler Roberts' refusal to put the ball out of touch for an injury.[18] The decision was met with controversy from fans and pundits alike, with Aston Villa head coach Dean Smith claiming that after reviewing the footage of the incident reported that he'd be 'amazed' if the red card and subsequent three-game ban weren't overturned after appeal.[19] The red card and ban were later rescinded and on 2 May, Bamford was banned for two games for "successful deception of a match official".[20]

On 27 May 2019, El Ghazi scored Aston Villa's first goal in their 2–1 EFL Championship Play-off final victory over Derby County. In the 44th minute he met an Ahmed Elmohamady cross from the right with an attempted diving header which diverted in off his back. In the second half an El Ghazi shot from just outside the penalty area was blocked by Richard Keogh, looping up for John McGinn to steal in and score with a header, putting Aston Villa 2–0 up in the tie on 59 minutes.[21]

El Ghazi signed for Villa permanently on 10 June 2019 on a four-year contract for an undisclosed fee.[22] He scored 4 goals and contributed 4 assists in his first Premier League season, as Villa narrowly avoided relegation.[23]

On 26 December 2020, El Ghazi scored a goal in the 3–0 home victory over Crystal Palace that would go onto to be voted Aston Villa's goal of the season for the 2020–21 season.[24] It was one of 11 goals scored that season, equalling his best ever goalscoring season with Ajax.[25]

Everton

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El Ghazi signed for Everton on loan on 13 January 2022.[26] He took the number 34 shirt in honour of former Ajax teammate Abdelhak Nouri.[27]

On 30 August 2022, El Ghazi completed a move to PSV Eindhoven.[28] He made his debut in a 2–1 defeat to Twente on 3 September.[29] His contract with PSV was terminated by mutual consent on 4 September 2023.[30]

Mainz 05

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On 22 September 2023, El Ghazi signed a two-year contract with Bundesliga club Mainz 05.[31] El Ghazi played his only game with Mainz 05 on 6 October against Borussia Mönchengladbach, being subbed on for Brajan Gruda, where he assisted Aymen Barkok's goal in the 75th minute to make the game 2–1.[32] El Ghazi was suspended by Mainz 05 on 17 October for sharing a pro-Palestinian post on Instagram relating to the 2023 Israel– Palestine war, which contained the statement "From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free."[33] He later stated "Every individual, be it in Palestine or elsewhere, has the right to security, a loving home, and opportunities to grow."[34] Due to his comments, Mainz 05's official Instagram account was taken offline in the wake of El Ghazi's release.[35]

On 27 October, Mainz informed El Ghazi that they intended to terminate his contract due to his social media post.[36] However, he returned on 31 October after he distanced himself from his statement by stating that he stood "for peace above everything" and calling for "more empathy" as "deepening our knowledge about the history of this conflict is vital". A week later, Mainz terminated his contract. This came after El Ghazi denied the club's statement that he had backed away from his initial statement, saying on social media that he had not authorised the club's statement on the matter: "I do not distance myself from what I said and stand for humanity and on the side of the oppressed until the last day I breathe."[37] A German court ruled on 12 July 2024 that El Ghazi was unfairly dismissed by Mainz.[38]

International career

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Having dual citizenship, El Ghazi was eligible to represent either the Netherlands or Morocco at senior level. He made his international debut playing for the Netherlands under-18 side in a friendly match against Austria on 15 October 2012, a 2–0 loss.[39]

Netherlands

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El Ghazi met Cristiano Ronaldo during the summer break, a player who he looks up to, and asked him whether he should represent the Netherlands or Morocco. Ronaldo advised him to choose the Netherlands because he would have a higher chance to participate in an international tournament, based on their history. Consequently, El Ghazi said he would choose to represent the Netherlands and was subsequently called up for the Netherlands' two final UEFA Euro 2016 qualifying matches, against Kazakhstan on 10 October 2015 and the Czech Republic on 13 October.[40] He was named in the Oranje's starting line-up for both matches as the Dutch defeated Kazakhstan 2–1 but lost to the Czechs 3–2. The Netherlands failed to qualify for the tournament proper after finishing fourth in their qualifying group.

On 14 May 2021, El Ghazi was called up by Frank de Boer and the Netherlands to be part of the provisional squad for the upcoming UEFA Euro 2020 tournament, making it his first call-up to the national team since 2015.[41]

Morocco

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In October 2022 El Ghazi confirmed that he was considering switching to Morocco and that the Royal Moroccan Football Federation was working on the paperwork.[42] He is yet to make an appearance for them.

Career statistics

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Club

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As of match played 6 October 2023[2]
Appearances and goals by club, season and competition
Club Season League National cup League cup Europe[a] Other[b] Total
Division Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Ajax 2014–15 Eredivisie 31 9 2 0 9 1 1 0 43 10
2015–16 Eredivisie 27 11 1 0 9 0 37 11
2016–17 Eredivisie 12 0 2 1 6 1 20 2
Total 70 20 5 1 0 0 24 2 1 0 100 23
Lille 2016–17 Ligue 1 12 1 1 1 13 2
2017–18 Ligue 1 27 4 2 0 2 0 31 4
Total 39 5 3 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 44 6
Aston Villa (loan) 2018–19 Championship 31 5 1 0 1 0 3 1 36 6
Aston Villa 2019–20 Premier League 34 4 1 1 5 1 40 6
2020–21 Premier League 28 10 0 0 3 1 31 11
2021–22 Premier League 9 1 1 0 2 2 12 3
2022–23 Premier League 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 102 20 3 1 11 4 0 0 3 1 119 26
Everton (loan) 2021–22 Premier League 2 0 0 0 0 0 2 0
PSV 2022–23 Eredivisie 23 8 3 0 5 1 31 9
2023–24 Eredivisie 1 0 0 0 0 0 1[c] 0 2 0
Total 24 8 3 0 0 0 5 1 1 0 33 9
Mainz 05 2023–24 Bundesliga 3 0 0 0 3 0
Career total 240 53 14 3 13 4 29 3 5 1 302 64

International

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As of match played 13 October 2015[2]
Appearances and goals by national team and year
National team Year Apps Goals
Netherlands 2015 2 0
Total 2 0

Honours

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Aston Villa

PSV
Individual

References

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  1. ^ "2019/20 Premier League squads confirmed". Premier League. 3 September 2019. Retrieved 3 September 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d "A. El Ghazi: Summary". Soccerway. Perform Group. Retrieved 13 June 2019.
  3. ^ "Anwar El Ghazi: Overview". Premier League. Retrieved 17 August 2019.
  4. ^ Voormalig Sparta-talent El-Ghazi mikt op Ajax 1, Rijnmond.nl, 6 May 2014
  5. ^ "Ajax contracteert Anwar El-Ghazi". AFC Ajax. 16 April 2013. Retrieved 3 August 2014.
  6. ^ "PEC Zwolle vs. Ajax". Soccerway. 3 August 2014. Retrieved 3 August 2014.
  7. ^ Ajax vs. Vitesse 4–1, Soccerway.co, 10 August 2014
  8. ^ "AZ vs. Ajax". Soccerway. 17 August 2014. Retrieved 17 August 2014.
  9. ^ "El Ghazi zorgt voor opmerkelijke statistiek". Soccernews.nl. 22 October 2014. Retrieved 22 October 2014.
  10. ^ Voogt, Sam de (31 January 2017). "Ajax verkoopt El Ghazi aan Lille". NRC Handelsblad. Retrieved 15 March 2017.
  11. ^ "Ligue 1. Lille enfonce un peu plus Caen à domicile". Ouest-France.fr (in French). Ouest-France. 18 February 2017. Retrieved 14 September 2020.
  12. ^ "Lille : Anwar El Ghazi rend hommage à Abdelhak Nouri après son but contre Nantes" (in French). L'Équipe. 6 August 2017. Retrieved 14 September 2020. The scorer of Lille's third goal against Nantes on Sunday, Dutch striker Anwar El Ghazi paid tribute to his former teammate Abdelhak Nouri, in serious condition after a heart attack on July 8 during a friendly match.
  13. ^ "Invaller El Ghazi tilt Lille met heldenrol over degradatiestreep". VI.nl (in Dutch). Voetbal International. 28 January 2018. Retrieved 14 September 2020. Anwar El Ghazi and his Lille OSC team have taken important points in the fight against relegation. At home against Strasbourg, the team won in the absolute final phase thanks to an assist from the ex-Ajax player (2-1), who had already made it 1-0.
  14. ^ "Lille : El Ghazi touché aux ischio-jambiers" (in French). L'Equipe. 18 February 2018. Retrieved 14 September 2020.
  15. ^ Farrell, Dom (22 August 2018). "Aston Villa sign Lille winger El Ghazi on loan". GOAL. Retrieved 14 September 2020. El Ghazi scored five times in 39 Ligue 1 appearances, but was not part of Lille boss Christophe Galtier's plans for the current campaign.
  16. ^ "El Ghazi prêté à Aston Villa | Lille LOSC". www.losc.fr (in French). Retrieved 22 August 2018.
  17. ^ "Aston Villa 1–1 Reading". BBC Sport. 25 August 2018. Retrieved 25 August 2018.
  18. ^ "Leeds United 1–1 Aston Villa". BBC Sport. 28 April 2019. Retrieved 29 April 2019.
  19. ^ "Aston Villa to appeal Anwar El Ghazi red card shown during Leeds draw". Sky Sports. 28 April 2019. Retrieved 29 April 2019.
  20. ^ Taylor, Louise (2 May 2019). "Leeds striker Patrick Bamford banned for two games for deceiving referee". The Guardian. Retrieved 3 May 2019.
  21. ^ Woodcock, Ian (27 May 2019). "Aston Villa 2–1 Derby County". BBC Sport. Retrieved 29 May 2019.
  22. ^ "Anwar El Ghazi joins Aston Villa on permanent deal". Aston Villa F.C. 10 June 2019. Retrieved 13 June 2019.
  23. ^ "Anwar El Ghazi Statistics | Premier League". www.premierleague.com. Retrieved 23 May 2021.
  24. ^ "Martinez voted Supporters' Player of the Season 🏆". Aston Villa F.C. Official Site. 23 May 2021. Archived from the original on 23 May 2021. Retrieved 23 May 2021.
  25. ^ "Anwar El Ghazi equals the best goalscoring season of his career!". Aston Villa F.C. on Twitter. 23 May 2021. Archived from the original on 23 May 2021. Retrieved 23 May 2021.
  26. ^ "Anwar El Ghazi joins Everton on loan". Aston Villa Football Club. 13 January 2022. Archived from the original on 13 January 2022. Retrieved 13 January 2022.
  27. ^ "Player Profiles | Everton Football Club". www.evertonfc.com. Retrieved 13 January 2022.
  28. ^ "Anwar El Ghazi departs Villa". Aston Villa Football Club. 31 August 2022. Retrieved 1 September 2022.
  29. ^ Darroch, Gordon (4 September 2022). "Twente overcome lacklustre PSV to leave Ajax on top of Eredivisie". DutchNews.nl. Retrieved 30 September 2022.
  30. ^ "ANWAR EL GHAZI LEAVES BY MUTUAL CONSENT". PSV Eindhoven. 4 September 2023. Retrieved 6 September 2023.
  31. ^ Shopland, Will (22 September 2023). "Official | Mainz sign former Aston Villa forward Anwar El Ghazi". Get German Football News. Retrieved 25 September 2023.
  32. ^ "Mönchengladbach vs. Mainz 05 Match Report – Friday October 6, 2023". fbref.com. 17 October 2023. Retrieved 17 October 2023.
  33. ^ "Mainz 05 stellt Anwar El Ghazi frei" (in German). Mainz 05. 17 October 2023. Retrieved 17 October 2023.
  34. ^ "Dutch footballer suspended by German team for 'unacceptable' stance on Palestine". Alarabia News. 17 October 2023. Retrieved 18 October 2023.
  35. ^ "Nach El-Ghazi-Post: Instagram-Account von Mainz 05 offline". Allgemeine Zeitung (in German). 18 October 2023. Retrieved 21 October 2023.
  36. ^ "Mainz to end El Ghazi contract over Israel-Gaza post". BBC Sport. Retrieved 27 October 2023.
  37. ^ "Bundesliga: Mainz 05 kündigt Vertrag mit Anwar El Ghazi fristlos - WELT". DIE WELT (in German). 3 November 2023. Retrieved 3 November 2023.
  38. ^ Whitehead, Jacob. "German court finds El Ghazi unfairly sacked by Mainz over Israel-Gaza war posts". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 12 July 2024.
  39. ^ "Speler: Anwar El-Ghazi". OnsOranje. Retrieved 5 August 2014.
  40. ^ "El Ghazi in line for Netherlands debut". Soccerway. Retrieved 2 October 2015.
  41. ^ "El Ghazi named in provisional Netherlands squad for Euro 2020". Aston Villa. Retrieved 14 May 2021.
  42. ^ "El Ghazi could represent Morocco at the World Cup". Football Oranje. 30 October 2022.
  43. ^ Woodcock, Ian (27 May 2019). "Aston Villa 2–1 Derby County". BBC Sport. Retrieved 27 May 2019.
  44. ^ "PSV wint na strafschoppen van Ajax in bekerfinale vol irritaties en opstootjes" [PSV beats Ajax after penalty kicks in cup final full off irritations and fights] (in Dutch). 30 April 2023. Retrieved 10 May 2023.
  45. ^ "Lang beslist duel met Feyenoord en bezorgt PSV veertiende Johan Cruijff Schaal" [Long decided duel with Feyenoord and gives PSV fourteenth Johan Cruijff Shield]. nos.nl (in Dutch). 4 August 2023. Retrieved 8 August 2023.
  46. ^ "Ajax roept Cillessen uit tot 'speler van het jaar', El Ghazi 'talent van het jaar'". Het Parool. 10 May 2015. Retrieved 26 May 2021.
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