“Don’t judge a player by his nationality.”
These were the words of Jordanian ace Moussa Altamari (Montpellier) after his heartbreaking elimination at the hands of Klinsmann.
“Jordanian Altamari said, ‘You shouldn’t judge a player’s skills by his nationality,'” China’s Sina Sports reported on Aug. 8 (local time), highlighting his career and more.
According to reports, Altamari was interested in Leicester City, Blackburn (England), Levante (Spain), and Fenerbahce (Turkey) last summer, but chose to join Montpellier. Leicester City asked for a two-month trial, which struck a chord with Altamari’s ego. “You can’t take pride lightly and I don’t like to judge a player’s quality by his nationality,” Altamari said.
Jordan is the 87th ranked team in the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA). To put it bluntly, they’re classified as an underdog. This image of the country probably had a big impact on Altamari’s transfer. However, Altamari broke the mold in a spectacular way. He”s been on fire at Montpellier. In just his debut season, he has scored three goals and provided one assist in 16 league appearances this season. European soccer statistics site Fúscore.com gives Altamari a seasonal rating of 6.87. That’s the second-highest rating on the team.
Altamari is also considered one of the best players of the Asian Cup. As he says, his performance had nothing to do with his nationality. Altamari scored multiple goals in the first round of the group stage against Malaysia, leading his team to victory. Jordan also advanced to the round of 16 after finishing third in the group with one win, one draw, and one loss (4 points). They continued their good run in the tournament. Jordan defeated Iraq in the round of 16 and Tajikistan in the quarterfinals. Altamari didn’t score an offensive point in either of those games, but they were relentless on the flanks and helped them to victory.
His performance against South Korea in the quarterfinals was particularly impressive. Altamari rattled the net with a fantastic mid-range shot in the 21st minute of the second half to make it 1-0. Even Cho Hyun-woo (Ulsan HD), who made several saves, could not stop it. Altamari also had four successful dribbles, one successful cross, and an 88% pass completion rate. South Korea also fell short. Jordan cruised to a 2-0 victory.
Jordan is making history at this tournament. They had the lowest FIFA ranking of any team in the Asian Cup quarterfinals and had never played in the quarterfinals before, so they weren’t considered favorites. But they defied the odds and reached their first-ever final. If they can beat the hosts and defending champions Qatar in the final, they will win their first title.
“Altamari, who scored Jordan’s winning goal against South Korea, is remembered as a national hero by Jordanian soccer fans,” said SinaSport, adding, “In addition to his personal goals with the team, Altamari also dreams of leading Jordan to the Asian Cup and qualifying for the 2026 World Cup in North and Central America.”
Altamari was born in the Jordanian capital, Amman, to a poor but soccer-loving family that encouraged him to pursue his dreams of becoming a soccer player. His mother wanted him to focus on his studies so he could get a stable job and more money. But Altamari never gave up on his dreams of becoming a soccer player, and he rose through the ranks, playing for Jordanian soccer clubs such as Shabab Al Ordon and Al Jazeera. He also moved to Apoel (Cyprus), where he played in Europe for the first time. It was a step up for Altamari. “It was important for me to play against European giants like Ajax (Netherlands) and Sevilla (Spain),” he recalls of his time at Apoel.
Altamari also shared his mother’s love for taekwondo. She could have been a taekwondo player instead of a soccer player. Even now, Altamari trains every week to improve his strength and stamina. At his previous club, OH Leuven (Belgium), he also practiced boxing to improve his competitive spirit and physicality. “Altamari’s outstanding physical strength and soccer skills come from his constant training in soccer and taekwondo,” the media explained.
His value has only increased. Now, English giants Liverpool are reportedly interested in signing him. “He could be the new icon of Arab soccer after Mohamed Salah (Liverpool),” the source said.