Mustapha Hadji

Mustapha Hadji (born 16 November 1971) is a retired Moroccan footballer and the current assistant manager of the Morocco national team. He was named the 50th greatest African player of all time by the African football expert Ed Dove.[2]

Mustapha Hadji
مصطفى حجي
ⵎⵓⵚⵟⴰⴼⴰ ⵃⴰⵊⵊⵉ
Mustapha Hadji.jpg
Hadji in 2012
Personal information
Date of birth (1971-11-16) 16 November 1971 (age 50)
Place of birth Tiznit, Morocco
Height 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
Position(s) Midfielder
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1991–1996 Nancy 243 (98)
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 518 (155)
National team
1993–2002 Morocco[1] 63 (12)
Teams managed
2012–2013 Umm Salal (assistant)
2014–2022 Morocco (assistant)
*Club domestic league appearances and goals, correct as of 1 July 2009
‡ National team caps and goals, correct as of 24 January 2010

Early lifeEdit

Hadji was born in Ifrane Atlas-Saghir, Morocco. He emigrated with his family to France at the age of ten.[citation needed]

Club careerEdit

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 Nancy, Hadji joined Sporting Lisbon and then Deportivo la Coruña, but it was with Coventry City where he became well known, especially in Britain, after he was signed by Gordon Strachan in 1999.

Hadji was a goal-scoring attacking midfielder with great pace and skill. At Coventry, he was joined by Moroccan international, Youssef Chippo, sparking a brief trend for City fans to wear fezzes to games in their honour.[citation needed] 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 in the league against Southampton[3] and Everton[4] and once in the UEFA Cup against Varteks,[5] he was released on a free transfer to Espanyol in Spain where he remained until June 2004.[6]

Hadji later played for Al Ain in the United Arab Emirates, where he remained for one year before returning to Europe. In 2005, he signed a two-year contract with Saarbrücken in the German Second Division.[7] At the request of the coach Horst Ehrmantraut, Hadji made a midfield pairing with another Moroccan international, Faysal El Idrissi. On 4 August 2005, Hadji made his début for Saarbrücken, on the first day of the 2. Bundesliga season, against Bochum, losing the match 4–0. After another defeat, Ehrmantraut was sacked. Rudi Bommer took over as coach and Saarbrücken lost 2–1 after extra time in the second round of the German Cup against Unterhaching. Hadji scored to give his team the lead, but was sent off in the 85th minute and was suspended for three cup matches by the German Football Association.[citation needed]

In August 2007, Hadji signed for Fola Esch, in Luxembourg's First Division.[8] He ended his playing career in July 2010.

International careerEdit

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 were eliminated. Hadji scored a great goal in Morocco's 2–2 draw with Norway in the 1998 FIFA World Cup but Morocco again failed to qualify for the knock-out stages. He was named African Footballer of the Year after the World Cup in France.

He played in 13 FIFA World Cup qualification matches.[9]

Career statisticsEdit


Scores and results list Morocco's goal tally first, score column indicates score after each Morocco goal.
List of international goals scored by Mustapha Hadji[10]
No. Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1 15 November 1995 Rabat, Morocco   Mali 1–0 2–0 Friendlies
2 29 August 1996 Settat, Morocco   DR Congo 3–0 7-0 Friendlies
3 12 January 1997 Kumasi, Ghana   Ghana 1-2 2-2 1998 FIFA World Cup qualification
4 14 January 1998 Casablanca, Morocco   Angola 2-1 2-1 Friendlies
5 17 February 1998 Ouagadougou, Burkino Faso   Egypt 1–0 1-0 1998 African Cup of Nations
6 4 June 1998 Avignon, France   Chile 1-0 1-1 Friendlies
7 10 June 1998 Montpellier, FRance   Norway 1-0 2-2 1998 FIFA World Cup
8 24 January 1999 Kamsar, Guinea   Guinea 1–0 1-1 African Cup Qualification
9 28 February 1999 Lomé, Togo   DR Congo 1-2 2-2 African Cup Qualification
10 17 November 1999 Marrakech, Morocco   United States 2-1 2-1 Friendlies
11 18 January 2000 El Jadida, Morocco   Trinidad and Tobago 1–0 1-0 Friendlies
12 30 June 2001 Rabat, Morocco   Egypt 1–0 1-0 2002 FIFA World Cup qualification

Other projectsEdit

Hadji was selected as an ambassador for the 2010 World Cup by FIFA to represent Africa. He is also involved in a partnership with plans to invest in Morocco, thus providing opportunities for the local people, to help rid poverty from his homeland.

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

He would have been ambassador for the 2026 FIFA World Cup, representing his country if Morocco had been selected as the host.

Managerial careerEdit

Umm SalalEdit

He was appointed as an assistant manager at 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 for the 2014 AFC Champions League.[11]


He was appointed as an assistant manager for the Morocco national team by manager Badou Ezzaki before the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations.[12] Morocco withdrew as hosts following the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and were suspended from the tournament.

Personal lifeEdit

His younger brother Youssouf Hadji was also a Moroccan international and last played for Nancy in France.

Hadji's son Samir Hadji plays for Fola Esch in the Luxembourg First Division. Another son, Zachary Hadji, plays for SV Röchling in Germany.


Sporting CP
Aston Villa


  1. ^ Mustapha Hadji - International Appearances
  2. ^ "The 50 Greatest African Players of All Time". Bleacher Report. 25 September 2013. Retrieved 26 September 2013.
  3. ^ "Angel strike sinks Saints". BBC. 24 September 2001. Retrieved 13 November 2009.
  4. ^ "Schmeichel strike in vain". BBC. 20 October 2001. Retrieved 13 November 2009.
  5. ^ "Villa leave it too late". BBC. 27 September 2001. Retrieved 13 November 2009.
  6. ^ "Mustapha Hadji is Africa's new king" (in German). January 1999. Retrieved 7 July 2012.
  7. ^ "Mustapha Hadji kommt zum 1. FCS" (in German). 1 July 2005. Retrieved 7 July 2012.
  8. ^ "Abschied aus Esch" (in German). Archived from the original on 17 July 2012. Retrieved 7 July 2012.
  9. ^ Mustapha HadjiFIFA competition record (archived)
  10. ^ "Mustapha Hadji - International Appearances". Retrieved 19 November 2021.
  11. ^ "ريف سيتي الجريدة الإكترونية المغربية _ مصطفى حجي يطرق باب عالم التدريب من بوابة فريق أم صلال القطري". Archived from the original on 8 September 2014. Retrieved 7 September 2014.
  12. ^ "منتديات كووورة".
  13. ^ "Angel carries Villa home". Telegraph. 21 August 2001. Retrieved 12 September 2018.
  14. ^ "IFFHS". IFFHS. 1 March 2022. Retrieved 3 March 2022.

External linksEdit