• Coming back from injury is always a challenge, and even more so when the player in question is competing for a place in one of his country’s top clubs. Yet that is precisely what Qatar international Wesam Rizik managed. Just two years after a serious injury threatened his future with Al Sadd and saw him loaned to fellow Qatari outfit Al Khor, the midfielder made a triumphant return to the Doha-based side.

    Rizik’s stellar performances during his season-long loan spell with Al Khor prompted Al Sadd to recall him at the start of last year. It was to prove an inspired decision, with the 30-year-old instrumental in his side’s march to the quarter-finals of this season’s AFC Champions League.

    Back with a vengeance
    Having participated in five previous editions of Asia’s premier club competition, Rizik’s experience will be a crucial in Al Sadd’s quarter-final second leg clash with Iran’s Sepahan today, when Qatar’s most successful club will be seeking to reach the Champions League semi-finals for the first time in its illustrious history.

    As he told FIFA.com, Rizik thrives on the challenges presented by the tournament: “Taking part in the Champions League is an honour for any player, and you learn a lot in the process. My previous experiences in the tournament really benefitted me and I’m just looking to learn more.”

    Nevertheless, the midfielder says that Al Sadd’s success in Asia is down to the whole team, insisting that if they are to become the first Qatari club to go all the way since the tournament was founded in 2003, then everyone must play a part.

    “Of course it was a major achievement for us to reach the quarter-finals and now we’re aiming for a semi-final spot. However, that’s not just down to my performances: everyone has contributed and we’re all fully focused on the title.”

    “Wonderful though as it is to take part,” he added, “the fact remains that it’s a tough tournament. It’s the cream of Asian club football. Most of the games we play are hard-fought and we’ve already come up against some strong opposition.”

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