Mahmoud, center, fields questions on Saturday before returning to the soccer field Sunday for the Asian Cup finals.
One might expect that Iraqi soccer star Younis Mahmoud, who scored the winning goal for his country in Sunday’s Asian Cup finals game against Saudi Arabia, would have a hero’s welcome waiting for him at home. Instead, Mahmoud plans to steer clear of his country for fear of being killed, and he voices the hope that American troops will withdraw as soon as possible.
“I don’t want the Iraqi people to be angry with me,” he said. “But, if I go back with the team, anybody could kill me or try to hurt me.
“One of my closest friends, they (the authorities) came to arrest him and for one year neither me nor his family knew where he was.
“I want America to go out,” he said. “Today, tomorrow, or the day after tomorrow, but out. I wish the American people didn’t invade Iraq and hopefully it will be over soon.”