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Meet Abdelhamid Salhi, the Algerian footballer who never got booked

Abdelhamid Salhi

Football is a contact sport and so it is difficult for one to play for 90 minutes without fouling an opposition player.

It is even more difficult for a player to play 10 games without getting booked, let alone throughout a career.

But that is not the case for Abdelhamid Salhi. The former Algeria international retired from football having never been booked.

Salhi started his football career at a very tender age during his time as a student of Lycee Kirouani, located in Setif, where he was born.

He then joined Entente Sportive Setif (ESS) at the age of 16 and played for the club till he hung his boots.

As a one-club man, the 72-year-old knows all about loyalty, but it is his calmness on the pitch that is most enviable.

Speaking to the BBC, Salhi explained how he managed to go his entire career without ever getting booked.

“One has to respect himself, respect the opponent and respect the referee,” the former Algeria international said.

“You will never get into trouble if you put respect first, that’s the golden rule for fair play and clean football.

“I have always observed the rules religiously. I have never contested the decision made by the referee or argued with him about anything even when I am victim a bad tackle or another offence.”

Salhi added that he never contested any decision by referees and often laughed when his teammates got booked for contesting referee decisions.

“I never contested a decision and as a captain I also prevented my teammates from doing that,” he stated.

“In our time if a player touched the ball with his hand the referee would give a foul to the opponent team but would not show a yellow card to the offender.”

Slahi estimates he played more than a 1,000 matches during his career as a footballer.

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