|Full name||Mounir El Hamdaoui|
|Date of birth||14 July 1984|
|Place of birth||Rotterdam, Netherlands|
|Height||1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)|
|2005–2006||→ Derby County (loan)||9||(3)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 8 December 2012.
† Appearances (Goals).
Mounir El Hamdaoui (Arabic: منير الحمداوي) (born 14 July 1984 in Rotterdam, Netherlands) is a Dutch-Moroccan footballer. He currently plays as a forward for Fiorentina in the Serie A. He previously played for Excelsior, Tottenham Hotspur, Derby County, Willem II, AZ and Ajax, before joining Fiorentina in 2012.
Although being born in the Netherlands and having played for their Under-21 side El Hamdaoui decided to represent Morocco, for whom he made his debut in February 2009 in a match against the Czech Republic.
In the 2008–09 Eredivisie, El Hamdaoui was named Dutch Footballer of the Year and became the Eredivisie Top Scorer as AZ won their second league title in their history. He is also known by the nickname De Tovenaar van Kralingen (The Wizard of Kralingen)
El Hamdaoui went through the youth academy of SBV Excelsior, where he played together with his youth friends Robin van Persie and Saïd Boutahar. In the 2001–02 season the player made his debut for the Rotterdam side under manager Adrie Koster, scoring two goals in six appearances. El Hamdaoui played a total of 74 league matches for Excelsior, scoring 32 goals. Excelsior big brother Feyenoord was also interested in signing the player, and El Hamdaoui trained a number of times with Feyenoord's first squad, but a transfer was never realised.
In 2005, English club Tottenham Hotspur (managed by fellow Dutchman Martin Jol) signed the player from Excelsior. He signed a three and a half year contract with Tottenham Hotspur and moved from Excelsior Rotterdam in January 2005. He never made an appearance in the Premier League but featured in the Peace Cup in July 2005 in which Tottenham lifted the trophy following a 3–1 win against Olympique Lyonnais. He also scored 2 goals on his debut in a friendly against Northampton Town and scored against Aldershot Town on his first team debut in another friendly.
In September 2005 El Hamdaoui joined Derby County on loan appearing 6 times, scoring 2 goals before a dislocated shoulder forced the loan to be cut short and he returned to Spurs. Derby continued to monitor his progress and in January 2006 he returned to Pride Park for another loan spell. Unfortunately, this too was to be disrupted due to injury, a groin problem forcing him to return to Tottenham in early March. This second loan deal was not cancelled, but after returning to duty with Derby in April, a further injury problem prematurely ended his season.
In June 2006, El-Hamdaoui moved back to his native Netherlands to play for Willem II, due to a lack of opportunities at Spurs. On 19 August 2006, he marked his league debut for Willem II by scoring in their 2-1 victory against FC Utrecht. After an impressive start, scoring three goals in four matches he again suffered an injury, which prevented him playing for nine months. El Hamdaoui only played seven competitive matches for the Tilburg side, scoring three goals. In his second season at the Willem II, he left the club after two league matches to join AZ.
On 31 August 2007, El Hamdaoui signed with AZ Alkmaar until 2011 for a replacement for Danny Koevermans who left for PSV Eindhoven. On 16 September 2007, he made his debut for AZ in a league match against Sparta Rotterdam, scoring one goal. By the end of his first season at AZ, he had scored 7 goals in 23 league matches.
The 2008–09 season proved to be an excellent one for El Hamdaoui and AZ. He scored in the first game of the season against NAC Breda, although AZ lost 1-2. By the winter break, he had scored 16 goals in 17 league matches, including a hattrick against his old club Willem II. At the winter break, AZ was leading the league table, and El Hamdaoui was leading the goal-scoring charts. By the end of the season, AZ had won the second championship in their history, and El Hamdaoui was the top scorer in the Eredivisie, with 23 goals in 31 matches, one more than Ajax's Luis Suárez. He was also named the Dutch Footballer of the Year.
At the beginning of the 2009–10 season, there were a lot of changes at AZ. Manager Louis van Gaal had departed the club to go to FC Bayern Munich, and was replaced by Ronald Koeman. AZ had a bad start to the season, although the player had still scored 9 goals in 11 matches by the winter break. However, defending champions AZ found themselves in eighth place with 28 points in 20 matches, 24 points behind leaders PSV. Just before the winter break, Koeman was fired and veteran manager Dick Advocaat was brought in to take over. Russia manager Advocaat stated that he expected at least 15/16 goals from the player, El Hamdaoui stated "Advocaat knows what he's talking about, I think. It gives me confidence, I know what I can do."
There was definite improvement in the second part of the season as AZ finished the league in fifth place, with El Hamdaoui scoring 20 goals in 26 league matches. However, due to the financial issues AZ was having because of the bankruptcy of sponsor DSB Bank, it was clear that the striker would have to be sold to reduce the burden of his wages on the budget balance.
On 30 July 2010, El Hamdaoui signed a four-year deal with Ajax, rejoining his former Spurs manager Martin Jol. El Hamdaoui marked his league début for Ajax with two goals against Groningen on 8 August 2010. He scored a goal in the play-off round second leg of the 2010–11 UEFA Champions League against Dynamo Kyiv, helping Ajax win 2–1 on aggregate and ending a five-year drought from this competition. He scored his first Champions League goal with his new club, netting the opener against Milan, with the game ending 1–1.
During the 2010-11 season, El Hamdaoui fell out of favour with manager Frank de Boer after a dispute when de Boer was unhappy with his performance despite him scoring a goal, and replaced him at half-time which El Hamdaoui was unhappy about, and he didn't take it easy with the Ajax staff in the semi final of KNVB Cup against RKC Waalwijk.
On 23 August 2011 the Daily Mail reported that El Hamdaoui was in talks with English Premier League club Blackburn Rovers. As the season has gone on, El Hamdaoui has seen more European clubs express their interest in him, including Blackburn Rovers, Atlético Madrid, Espanyol, Fiorentina, Galatasaray, Genoa, Fulham, and Anzhi Makhachkala.
At the end of the transfer window El Hamdaoui stayed at Ajax but has not played any part in the 2011-12 season due to his troubled relationship with De Boer. He has played matches with Jong Ajax and although he was listed in the squad registered for the Champions League group stages, along with fellow Moroccan Ismaïl Aissati, who had been denoted to the second string at the beginning of the season as well, neither of them made any appearances or played any part in the competition. Frank de Boer explained his reason for registering them as him making players eligible, in case he were to be relieved of his managerial duties, so that his successor would have the full squad at his disposal in the event of his termination. Ismaïl Aissati has since found his way back into the first team.
In July 2012 El Hamdaoui finally left Ajax and signed with Fiorentina in the Italian Serie A. He will receive number 9 on his shirt and signed a three-year deal. On 11 November 2012 he scored his first goal in Italy in a 3-1 victory away to Milan.
||This section of a biography of a living person does not include any references or sources. (October 2010)|
Although being born in the Netherlands and having played for their Under-21 side El Hamdaoui has pledged his international future to Morocco. El Hamdaoui played his only game with Morocco B in 2005 against Saudi Arabia.
On 6 November 2006, El Hamdaoui stated in an interview to Dutch football magazine Voetbal International that he, at one point, wanted to play senior international football for the Moroccan national side.
He was selected to join the Moroccan national team and made his first international cap with the team on 11 February 2009 against the Czech Republic. His appearance against the Czech Republic was a success, as his technical skills charmed the Moroccan fans, who are known for favoring technical football. Moroccan fans at the Stade Mohamed V were chanting "Allez Hamdaoui" throughout the game. The following day, Moroccan press praised his performance and welcomed him as a "much needed addition" to the Moroccan team. El Hamdaoui struck his first goal in the 84th minute in a 1–2 loss to Gabon. His second international goal came in a CAN Qualifier 2012 against Tanzania, where he scored the only goal in a 0-1 win, assisted by Arsenal-star Marouane Chamakh.
|1.||28 March 2009||Stade Mohamed V, Casablanca, Morocco||Gabon||1-2||Loss||2010 WCQ|
|2.||9 October 2010||Benjamin Mkapa National Stadium, Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania||Tanzania||1-0||Win||2012 ACNQ|
|Correct as of 10 February 2011|
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