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Hatem Trabelsi (Arabic: حاتم الطرابلسي‎, Ḥātem Ṭrabelsī; born 25 January 1977) is a former Tunisian footballer. A right-sided defender or midfielder, he played for CS Sfaxien, Ajax Amsterdam, Manchester City and Al-Hilal Riyadh. At international level, he represented the Tunisian national team in three World Cups, gaining a total of 66 caps before retiring from international football in 2006.

Hatem Trabelsi
Hatem Trabelsi.jpg
Personal information
Full name Hatem Trabelsi
Date of birth (1977-01-25) 25 January 1977 (age 42)
Place of birth Sfax, Tunisia
Height 1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)
Playing position Right back
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1997–2001 CS Sfaxien 103 (13)
2001–2006 Ajax 99 (2)
2006–2007 Manchester City 20 (1)
2007–2008 Al-Hilal
Total 222 (16)
National team
1998–2006 Tunisia 66 (1)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Club careerEdit

Born in Aryanah, Tunisia, Trabelsi grew up in Sfax, and started his football career with his home town club Sfaxien, where he initially played as a forward.[1] An injury crisis at Sfaxien resulted in Trabelsi playing as a stop-gap right-back, leading to him converting to defence and becoming the team's regular right-back. In 2001 Trabelsi moved to Europe, signing for Dutch club Ajax.

During the pre season of 2004, he was given a trial period at Arsenal by Arsène Wenger. Seemingly, he impressed the Gunners and a fee between Ajax and the English champions was agreed. With the transfer looking imminent, even Pro Evolution Soccer 4 included Trabelsi for Arsenal. However, due to personal reasons Trabelsi never fully signed with Arsenal and soon returned home to Ajax.

In 2006 Trabelsi was linked with moves to several English clubs, and joined Manchester City on a free transfer on 10 August.[2] Injury and work permit problems[3] prevented him from making his debut until a month into the season, a substitute appearance against Reading on 11 September.[4]

He scored his first Manchester City goal against Manchester United with a left foot shot to beat Edwin van der Sar. Manchester City still lost the game 3–1.[5] Trabelsi lost his right-back place in the side to Micah Richards and Nedum Onuoha. Trabelsi did not play a game after City's 1–0 win at Newcastle United in March, and he was released at the end of the season.

International careerEdit

Trabelsi made his international debut in May 1998, shortly before the 1998 World Cup.[6] He also played in all of Tunisia's matches in the 2002 FIFA World Cup and 2006 FIFA World Cups, as well as the 2004 African Nations Cup, which Tunisia won. Following Tunisia's elimination from the 2006 World Cup after a 1–0 defeat to Ukraine, Trabelsi announced his retirement from international football at the age of 29, with 61 caps and one goal.[7] He scored his only goal for the national team in 2006 in a friendly match against Ghana.[8]


Trabelsi was described as Tunisia's star player in the run-up to the 2006 World Cup.[9][10] His strongest attributes are generally regarded to be his pace and his agility,[4] though critics have sometimes questioned his commitment.[7]



CS Sfaxien






  1. ^ "Hatem is 'Very Happy to be Here'". Manchester City FC Match programme. 23 September 2006.
  2. ^ "Trabelsi completes Man City move". BBC Sport. 10 August 2006. Retrieved 5 January 2010.
  3. ^ "Delays Scupper Trabelsi Debut". Sky Sports. 21 August 2006.[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ a b "27 Hatem Trabelsi". ESPN Soccernet. Retrieved 24 December 2006.
  5. ^ "Man Utd 3–1 Man City". BBC. 9 December 2006. Retrieved 3 November 2009.
  6. ^ "Hatem Trabelsi". Retrieved 24 December 2006.
  7. ^ a b "Trabelsi quits Tunisia". BBC Sport. 24 June 2006. Retrieved 5 January 2010.
  8. ^ "Tunisia - List of International Matches". Retrieved 23 May 2018.
  9. ^ "6 Hatem Trabelsi". Retrieved 24 December 2006.
  10. ^ "Tunisia team guide". BBC Sport. 22 May 2006. Retrieved 24 December 2006.
  11. ^ "Décrets et arrêtés" (PDF). 1 August 2003.

External linksEdit