This week, Aly Ghazal became the first Egyptian footballer in history to become a permanent captain of a European football team. Ghazal was handed the captain's armband by coach Manuel Machado at Nacional da Madeira where he plays as a regular starter, having joined the Portuguese club in 2013.

The tall midfielder with a muscular build started his football career with Al-Sekka Al-Hadid club before moving to Wadi Degla in 2006, captaining the team temporarily last season.

Ghazal, 24, could barely hide his delight. "Thank God I've been picked as captain of Nacional da Madeira, it's undoubtedly something that'll add to my responsibilities towards the team," he told Al Masr Al Youm.

"I will strive to lead the team to finish in a high position in the Portuguese Liga this season."

He was capped three times internationally after former national team coach Bob Bradley first called him up to the team in 2013.

Ghazal, who can also play as a central defender, intends to stay in Portugal for the time being where he has earned the respect of his teammates and football analysts in the country.

Ghazal helped Nacional, based in southwest of Portugal, to avoid relegation last season, finishing 11th place in the Portuguese Liga.

Despite being a regular member in Nacional's starting line-up, Ghazal is rarely called up to Egypt's squad.