Following that creditable campaign, Ismael gradually established himself in Iraq’s senior XI, eventually starring in the 2015 AFC Asian Cup, where he played in six full matches as the Lions of Mesopotamia finished fourth.
And it was his sterling performances in that continental contest that eventually played a key role in his surprising return to Turkey. “Rizespor followed my progress during the U-20 World Cup and with the senior team, as well as in the Iraqi Premier League, after I was named Footballer of the Year. From all the interesting offers I received, I chose Turkey, as it’s a real gateway to Europe. ”
When Ismael landed on Turkish soil, recollections of his adventures in 2013 gave him a certain sense of familiarity. “I always remember how much I enjoyed my time with the Iraqi team during the U-20 World Cup. Every time I travel with Rizespor to stadiums that we played in during that competition, memories come flooding back, ” he explained.
The precocious defender is keen to Buy Fifa 16 Coins emulate his international team-mate, Ali Adnan, who also made an initial foray abroad with Rizespor before signing for Udinese at the beginning of this current season, thereby becoming the first Iraqi to play in Serie A.
“It’s fantastic that there’s an Iraqi player in Italy now, ” said Ismael proudly. “Personally, I hope to follow in the footsteps of my friend Ali, who I’m still in contact with. His success shows that Iraqi footballers have the necessary talent to play in the very top European leagues. ”