mohamed ali amar 'nayim' - fact file

1988 - 1993        midfielder

Born on 5th November 1966 in Cueta, Spain.

Height : -  1.77m  (5' 9")

Weight : -  - kgs    (st lbs)

 
Hugely popular midfielder, who joined Spurs from midfield as the "other" player in the deal that brought Gary Lineker to Tottenham from Barcelona, but proved a good value purchase.  His importance to the Tottenham fans even continued after he left the club when he scored the winning goal in the European Cup Winners' Cup final against Arsenal in the last minute of extra time ... from the halfway line.

Originally arriving on loan in November 1988, the midfielder was signed permanently for 400,000 in 1989.  Having only played a few games for Barcelona as a youngster, the Moroccan born youngster was known to Terry Venables, who had managed the Catalan club and took him on, knowing his abilities would be suited to the Tottenham way of playing.  A good technical player, his passing was accurate and inventive, while he was able to execute difficult skills with ease, enjoying tormenting opponents with turns and drag-backs.

For a small man, he was strongly built and able to hold off tacklers, while also having the presence to score goals from all positions.  He could slide a ball past a keeper, dribble it to a position to score or hit a shot from outside the box.  Although he was not always a regular, Nayim did well when he was called upon, making life troublesome for the other side.

Taken to the Spanish club when he was 15, Nayim was there at a time when Diego Maradona was a player, but he was one of the first Spanish players to come to England, having played at Under-21 level for his country.  His touches in Venables' side complemented less gifted players' endeavour and he also had the energy to put in a good shift, like when he replaced the injured Gazza in the FA Cup Final of 1991.  In that match he covered a lot of ground, but also made both goals fro Spurs as they beat Nottingham Forest 2-1 at Wembley.  His work-rate was not always as dynamic, but on this occasion and others, it was a useful contribution to the overall team effort.

His hat-trick against Manchester City in the FA Cup quarter-final in 1993 showed his growing importance to the team.  In a heated atmosphere at Maine Road, his calm approach gave Spurs the advantage in winning 4-2, clinically finishing his three goals to see Tottenham through.

Following a change in management, Nayim was deemed surplus to requirements, leaving to return to Spain with Real Zaragoza.  His four years there saw them win the Spanish Cup and thus qualify for the European Cup Winners' Cup, in which they went all the way to the final, meeting Tottenham's arch-rivals Arsenal in Pac de Princes, Paris.  The score was 1-1 as the game appeared to be heading for a penalty shoot-out.  A long clearance from the Zaragoza keeper was headed out to the Arsenal left wing by a stooping Tony Adams, who was just inside his own half.  Picked up by Nayim on his chest, he took the ball on the turn and volleyed the ball high into the night sky.  The ball had caught David Seaman off his line and as he back-pedalled, he could not get back quickly enough to get behind the ball and could only flap a palm at the ball as it hit the back of the net to win the trophy for the Spanish side ... and thus became the song, "Nayim from the halfway line", which plagues Seaman for a number of years when his sides played Tottenham.

After four years at Zaragoza, Nayim moved to Logrones and stayed there for another three years.  After retiring in 2000, Nayim coach and then managed Atletico Cueta, before becoming assistant coach at Real Zaragoza in 2009.

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MIDDLE NAME :

Career Record
 
Club Signed Fee Debut Apps Goals
Barcelona B (Spain) ?? ?? ??  45 7
Barcelona (Spain) ?? ?? ??  7 0
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR ?? Loan ??  - -
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 1989 400,000 ??  144 5
Real Zaragoza (Spain) ?? 500,000 ??  123 5
Logrones (Spain) ?? ?? ??  67 5

Career Record
Barcelona (Spain)
- League appearances; goals
- FA Cup appearances; goals
- League Cup appearances; goals
European appearances; goals
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR
- League appearances; goals
- FA Cup appearances; goals
- League Cup appearances; goals
European appearances; goals
Real Zaragoza (Spain)
- League appearances; goals
- FA Cup appearances; goals
- League Cup appearances; goals
European appearances; goals
Logrones (Spain)
- League appearances; goals
- FA Cup appearances; goals
- League Cup appearances; goals
European appearances; goals

Honours
Spanish international
0 full caps;  0 goals
1 Under-21 cap; 0 goals
4 Under-20 caps;  0 goals
1 Under-19 cap;  0 goals
4 Under-18 caps;  0 goals
Spanish Cup winners medal 1987-88 (Barcelona), 1993-94  (Real Zaragoza)
FA Cup winners medal 1990-91  (THFC)
European Cup Winners' Cup winners medal 1994-95  (Real Zaragoza)

Milestones
- appearance

           

A street in Trasmoz, a town near Zaragoza, Spain has been named Calle Gol de Nayim.
1992

Invited to train with Barcelona for a week as a 15 year old, while playing for a local boy's club.  After a month, Nayim was selected to join 40 boys in living quarters inside the Nou Camp.

"We would go to school in the morning and train in the afternoons.  After a year, we would train with the first team every Wednesday along with Maradona.  He was great with us youngsters.  Always joking and keen to help.  He was only too happy to do his tricks if we asked him and they were brilliant.  I still cannot do any of them !"

Terry Venables took over from Cesar Luis Menotti when Nayim was an amateur in the second XI.  After a year, he was invited to join the first team in training full time and he signed professional terms, moving into his own apartment.

A cruciate ligament injury rules him out for six months and by the time he returned, Johann Cruyff was the manager and Nayim was not in his first team plans.  He was allowed to join Tottenham, but only on loan, as Cruyff said he might still need him, but the transfer was made permanent as part of the deal to bring Gary Lineker to White Hart Lane.

Nayim did not speak English, but he watched the TV and assistant manager Allan Harris spoke Spanish, but he still spent a lot of time on the phone to home in his hotel room.  Paul Gascoigne, Paul Stewart, Gudni Bergsson and Erik Thorstvedt were all in the same hotel and they took him out and about.  He had taken a few English lessons before learning that the best way to pick up the language was by mixing with other players. 

"I could not change my natural game and Terry knew that, but I have learned to deal with the English style.  It is a lot harder here, with two very competitive games a week.   In Spain, we played only once a week, so we had more time to train."

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What they said about Nayim
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What Nayim said about ...
... his arrival in English football ...  13.05.2007 (Sunday Times)

"I remember at my first training session, I was kicked all over the place by Guy Butters.  I knew from then that over there you have to play hard."

... his goal against Arsenal in the European Cup Winners' Cup final 1995 ...  13.05.2007 (Sunday Times)

"I had seen two team-mates, who I thought might have been offside.  I knew how much Arsenal liked to play for offside and the defence were pushing forward.  So, something just clicked when I saw Seaman too far away from his goal.  I had to go for the goal.  It was professional instinct.  That's why I tried it.  But it was a goal you could try a thousand times and maybe it'll come off once.  I got the once."

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             Appearances

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