Why Björn Engels has bad memories of new Anderlecht striker Islam Slimani: “As if he deliberately wanted to hurt me”


Anderlecht was looking for a new striker this winter and eventually ended up with Islam Slimani. The Algerian veteran comes to Brussels on a free transfer. For Björn Engels (Antwerp), the name Slimani probably still rings a bell.

Vincent Van Genechten

The 28-year-old defender is currently in the rag basket and ended up there in 2016… due to the Algerian striker. Engels and Slimani fought a duel during the Champions League match between Club Brugge and Leicester City (0-3), after which the latter gave our compatriot a push. Engels came down badly and immediately grabbed his shoulder.

The verdict: several tendons torn and out for months. “It is a very painful injury,” Club reported at the time. Engels himself was heartbroken. “This is of course very unfortunate. I was really looking forward to proving myself in the Champions League. This injury is really bad luck. I will come back stronger anyway, as I have proven the previous times. It is a shame that I have to stay aside just now that things are getting difficult.”

“I was not allowed”

Engels also came back and has since played in the Premier League with Aston Villa for two years. But his rehabilitation was particularly tough, he told in a diary for ‘FAN’.

“Now that I have been discharged from the hospital and am lying at home on the couch, reality is only beginning to sink in. Months of rehabilitation, again. I do not understand. As I have had bad luck in recent years, that is not normal. Then it’s hard not to be a doomsayer. Sometimes it seems like it’s not for me. That it was not given to me. I cry. And I’m glad I only have my family with me. Others I cannot bear when I cry tears of frustration. Because the annoyance is great. I can’t help myself and it’s driving me crazy. Even the desire to eat a simple sandwich is gone. I can’t do anything. Lying alone. And have the wounds on my shoulder taken care of.”

© Patrick Hattori

“Meanwhile, Islam Slimani scores two goals for Leicester in the game against Burnley. I’m going crazy. I’ve watched the footage a hundred times now and I’m still angry. Pushing someone out of frustration, that can happen. But in the pictures I see him looking. Just when Butelle comes out, he pushes me. As if he deliberately wanted to hurt me. And then gestures like he didn’t do anything. I can’t place that. Even when I sat there on the floor, moaning in pain, he never came to me. Slimani must also have seen that something was going on. Not showing the slightest sympathy, neither in the game nor afterwards, I find that really sad. While Danny Drinkwater, another Leicester player, was concerned. He asked how I felt, asked me questions. But not Slimani.”

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