Hicham Zerouali nicknamed ‘Zero’ or the ‘Moroccan Magician’, was a Moroccan footballer. He played as a forward for clubs in Morocco, Scotland and the United Arab Emirates. He was a Moroccan international who won 17 caps and scored three goals. He featured for Morocco in the 2002 Africa Cup of Nations in Mali, and scored two goals in a 2–1 win over Burkina Faso. He also played in the 1997 FIFA World Youth Championship. He was in the international squad a month before his death. Zerouali was killed in a car accident in Rabat in December 2004 aged 27. Only the previous Saturday, he had scored two goals in a league game for his club. He is survived by a daughter to his girlfriend in Aberdeen.
Did you Know?
Zerouali was signed by Aberdeen manager Ebbe Skovdahl from FUS de Rabat in 1999. He became the first player in Scotland to wear the shirt number ‘0’ in 2000 (something outlawed the following season by the Scottish Premier League and the Premier League in England) and in one of his more memorable outings scored a hat-trick against Dundee. In January 2000, Zerouali scored a thirty-yard free kick in a fourth round Scottish Cup tie away to St Mirren to take the tie to a replay. Zerouali then scored in the 2–0 replay win at Pittodrie to help Aberdeen into the next round of the cup. Aberdeen eventually reached the final of that season’s Scottish Cup. In 2000, Zerouali was injured during a match against Motherwell, and subsequently missed out on a place at the Sydney Olympic Games. A firm fans’ favourite at Pittodrie, he was affectionately known as ‘Zero’ to the supporters. A memorial and tribute was held at Pittodrie after he died, which thousands of fans attended, despite him not playing for the club at the time.