Dubai: Despite being on the receiving end of threats after injuring Egyptian star player Mohammed Salah in the decisive 2018 Champions League final, Spanish footballer Sergio Ramos was warmly welcomed last week in Egypt where he honeymooned at a resort in Hurghada.
The Real Madrid footballer, who had once been warned never to visit Egypt by angry Mo Salah fans, arrived to find larger-than-life images of himself hanging on the exteriors of buildings – as well as posters featuring his wife, Pilar Rubio, and children.
“Once dubbed the most hated man in Egypt, Sergio Ramos is vacationing in Hurghada, Egypt. The hotel is just going a bit too far with the welcome,” commented a Twitter user.
Fans were also captured on video welcoming Ramos a rendition of La Decima – a song that once encapsulated the team’s desire to win their 10th Champions League trophy.
Ramos had nothing but praise for the country and its people.
“One of the best trips ever, now I know why everyone speaks so highly of Egypt and its people. Egypt you will always have a piece of my heart,” he captioned an Instagram post.
14 months ago, however, it was a different story. After Ramos dislocated Salah’s shoulder in the Real Madrid vs. Liverpool final, leaving the so-called ‘Egyptian king’ in tears, threats began to build up online.
Insults were lobbed at the Real Madrid captain, saying he would not be able to show his face in Egypt after causing the injury that ended Salah’s UCL and World Cup dreams in one fell swoop.
“You’re a dirty pig @SergioRamos ... filthy, absolutely filthy. You’re not welcome in Egypt. Ever!” wrote one Twitter user.
“Don’t you ever think of coming to Egypt, you are not welcome you stupid little [expletive],” a Salah fan posted.
“You are not welcome in Egypt. Egyptians will hit you in any place even after many years. Do not try to think to visit Egypt one day even after 20 years from now. You have got new enemies more angry than [FC Barcelona] fans. 100,000,000 Egyptians hate you,” another warned.
Now, only few are still feeling the residual bitterness, while most Egyptians on social welcomed Ramos to Egypt and urged him to visit again.
While one user posted, “You are not welcome in Egypt,” another wrote: “Mr. Ramos, captain of the Real Madrid team, welcome to Egypt, the country of security and safety. I wish you a happy stay.”
The Egyptian football team are under fire for releasing an ad, where they apologise for exiting the Africa Cup of Nations.
In the Pepsi advertisement, six Egyptian players sombrely apologise in a locker room, taking turns completing each other’s sentence.
The clip left some fans upset and raised questions about whether the commercial had been pre-filmed.
Sarah Fahmy wrote: “That means that the apology might be paid for. And some people are saying that the ad was filmed before the tournament. If that’s true, that’s a disaster; that means they were banking on a loss and filmed an ad and made money from it.”
Yaman Zeitouni called it “shameful” and added: “I personally think it would have been better if they stayed silent, rather than exiting in this negative way that doesn’t respect the fans…”
Egyptian actor Nabil El Halfawy said it was understandable that advertisements are created to inspire fans, but an apology should be much more personal.
“It should come from the person themselves, it can’t involve acting and directing … It’s as if it’s primary school and the teacher taught them these few words to memorise,” he added.
Pepsico Egypt released a statment on Instagram to clarify that the ad was an "unofficial version" and that they are currently investigating the matter.