Youcef Bellaili reveals why he rejected 'huge' offer from Pitso Mosimane's Al Ahly

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Bellaili, 28, went from serving a two-year ban after testing positive for having traces of cocaine in his system in 2015 to winning back-to-back CAF Champions League titles and the Africa Cup of Nations between 2018 and 2019.

The Algerian who was once on trial at Arsenal during his formative years represents one of Africa's mystery talents and with Esperance reviving his career towards an integral role with Djamel Belmadi's Algeria squad, he admits he could not betray them by joining their continental rivals.

Ahly is said to have tabled a three-year deal for the technically gifted playmaker, which he revealed to Qatari Al-Kass was never considered as a viable option.

"I had a lot of offers, but there were problems with the team I play for [Ahli Jeddah], so the transfer window ended in Europe before I got the clearance from FIFA," Bellaili explained.

"There was a huge offer from Al Ahly of Egypt, but I preferred to move to the Qatari League, rather than play in the Egyptian League, but I thank Al-Ahly management and its fans for the love and respect that has shown them."

10. Oussama Darragi - 14 goals in 47 games (Wydad
10. Oussama Darragi - 14 goals in 47 games (Wydad and Club Africain)
9. Yannick N'Djeng - 15 goals in 39 games (Esperan
9. Yannick N'Djeng - 15 goals in 39 games (Esperance)
8. Mohamed Barakat - 17 goals in 68 games (Al Ahly
8. Mohamed Barakat - 17 goals in 68 games (Al Ahly)
7. Edward Sadomba - 18 goals in 43 games (Al Ahli
7. Edward Sadomba - 18 goals in 43 games (Al Ahli and Al Hilal)
6. Dioko Kaluyituka - 18 goals in 33 games (TP Maz
6. Dioko Kaluyituka - 18 goals in 33 games (TP Mazembe)
5. Mbwana Samatta - 20 goals in 40 games (Simba an
5. Mbwana Samatta - 20 goals in 40 games (Simba and TP Mazembe)
4. Flavio - 21 goals in 54 games (Petro Luanda and
4. Flavio - 21 goals in 54 games (Petro Luanda and Al Ahly)
3. Emad Motaeb - 24 goals in 74 games (Al Ahly)
3. Emad Motaeb - 24 goals in 74 games (Al Ahly)
2. Tresor Mputu - 27 goals in 55 games (TP Mazembe
2. Tresor Mputu - 27 goals in 55 games (TP Mazembe Kabuscorp)
1. Mohamed Aboutrika - 31 goals in 88 games (Al Ah
1. Mohamed Aboutrika - 31 goals in 88 games (Al Ahly)
Scroll through the gallery to see the top 10 score
Scroll through the gallery to see the top 10 scorers in CAF Champions League history.

Having opted to move to the QNB Stars League with Qatar SC, Bellaili reiterated he would not join any other team in Africa other than Esperance, where he won four Ligue 1 titles.

"I said before that if I decided to return to Africa, it would be through Tunisia's Esperance, and that is why I preferred not to return to another team."

Bellaili scored 21 goals and registered 37 assists in 103 games for the Tunisian giants before his big-money move to the Middle East after leading Les Verts to continental glory in Egypt last year.