Maktub! With linked destinations, “El Turco” and Atlético-MG share a link with Arab blood | athletic-mg

On one of his forearms, Antonio “El Turco” Mohamed carries a tattoo of the mantra word “Maktub”. Of Arabic origin, the simplest translation is “it was written”. A reference to fate, which re-entangles the coach with the Atlético-MG. More than that night of May 30, 2013, it is the Syrian-Lebanese blood that intertwines “Tony” in Galo’s spurs.

As in Argentina, immigrants from the former Ottoman Empire at the turn of the 19th to the 20th century were all called “Turks” in young Belo Horizonte. The Syrian-Lebanese colony started to support Galo when Said Arges, a former Sírio-Horizontino striker, went to form Atlético’s Trio Maldito in the 1920s/30s with Jairo and Mário de Castro. So, several Arab surnames built the history of Atlético.

The most famous of them, Kalil, yielded two presidents of the Minas Gerais club – Elias, who set up a squad in the 1980s, and his son, Alexandre, president of Libertadores 2013 and Copa do Brasil 2014. It was in 2013 that Mohamed and Atlético met for the first time, in Galo x Tijuana, in the quarterfinals of Libertadores.

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Antonio Mohamed, Atlético coach — Photo: Pedro Souza/Atlético-MG

– My parents were born in Belo Horizonte, but my four grandparents are Syrians. They came as immigrants, they met in Brazil, at colony parties. And my parents also met at the carnival ball in the Syrian union. My mother was very beautiful, my father was smart and ugly. So my mother was enchanted by my father’s intelligence, and my father was enchanted by my mother’s beauty – said Kalil, to the program Em Off, in 2013.

During Atlético’s trip to the 2013 World Cup, some fans took a shirt with the words “Turco Loco” and a photo of Alexandre Kalil

In Atlético’s deliberative council, there are other examples of Syrian-Lebanese blood. Cadar, Patrus, Salum Moyses, Cury, Arges and Lasmar. Even the late football director Eduardo Maluf was of Lebanese descent. Not to mention Roberto Abras, a historic broadcaster from Minas Gerais, who has been a sectorist at Atlético for over 50 years.

In the case of “Turco” Mohamed, the nickname is more than natural in Argentine football for players of Arab origin. Omar Asad, also “El Turco”, was a historic striker for Vélez champions of Libertadores and the 1994 World Cup. The full name of the Galo coach is Antonio Ricardo Mohamed Matijevich. Syrian on the father’s side and Yugoslavian on the mother’s side.

– In Argentina, everyone who has a surname of Arab descent is called Turkish, who has Russian or Yugoslav descent is called Polish, it’s something similar, “El Turco” is because my surname is of Arab descent – explained the coach.

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