Arsenal’s Mohamed Elneny suffered the ultimate heartbreak in Sunday’s Africa Cup of Nations final.
The midfielder played all 120 minutes against Senegal but was powerless to stop Egypt from losing via a penalty shootout, with Liverpool’s Sadio Mane scoring the decisive spot-kick.
As expected, Elneny – as well as Mohamed Salah – was emotional after the final whistle as the Pharaohs missed out on winning their eighth AFCON title.
However, the Arsenal ace has since broken his silence regarding the defeat, taking to social media to thank the Egypt fans for supporting the squad throughout their month-long stay in Cameroon.
“I really do not know what to say, but I would like to thank you for your support to us and that you felt our fatigue and that we did everything to win the championship and make you happy and make the people of Egypt who are seriously worthy to be happy,” Elneny wrote on Instagram. “But God’s destiny and what He wills.
“Praise be to God and God willing, we will make every effort that we all rejoice On our way to the World Cup.
“Thank you great people.”
Whilst Elneny was denied lifting the AFCON trophy with Egypt, there has been some sort of consolation prize for the Gunners midfielder in that he’s been named in the team of the tournament.
The announcement came on Monday evening with Elneny named in the best XI alongside Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy, Liverpool pair Salah and Mane as well as top scorer Vincent Aboubakar.
And judging by how the 29-year-old has been reacting on Instagram, it’s clear that he’s proud to have made such an illustrious list.
As seen in the image above, Elneny uploaded a series of posts to his Instagram Stories of friends and teammates congratulating him on the AFCON best XI inclusion.
With the tournament now over, Elneny’s return to Arsenal is a timely boost for Mikel Arteta.
With Ainsley Maitland-Niles leaving, coupled with Thomas Partey also being away at the AFCON for a period and Granit Xhaka missing a few games through a combination of Covid and suspension, Albert Sambi Lokonga was the only senior midfield for games against Nottingham Forest, Liverpool and Burnley last month.
This crisis caused the Gunners to end January out of both domestic cup competitions and lose some ground in the top-four race, but Elneny’s return means Arteta has his full midfield contingent available for selection again.