Nashville SC have their eye on the prize. The club are 90 minutes away from winning the first title of their short history, and Hany Mukhar, the star of the team, can be the one to inaugurate their trophy cabinet. Although they’ll be facing none other than Lionel Messi’s Inter Miami, the German’s goalscoring form and impressive performances mean he could be the one to stop the Florida outfit.
Mukhtar has been front and center of Nashville SC promotions in the lead-up to the final. Not only is he seen as the face of the team, but the 28-year-old also backs up his status as the key player out on the pitch. The German, who has Sudanese origins, was the 2022 season’s top scorer and was named MLS MVP for the campaign. He also leads the scoring charts for the current campaign.
In fact, several weeks ago he was being labeled the “MLS Messi”, given he’s also a number 10 with fantastic technical ability. When the Argentine maestro was announced as an Inter Miami CF player, the German was asked about his thoughts on the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner’s arrival: “It’ll be great to see what they’re capable of with him in the team”. On Saturday, he’ll be able to see it first-hand.
Mukhtar was born 28 years ago in Berlin, Germany, and has roots from Sudan. He represented Germany at an U20 World Cup, but can still play for Sudan if called up, which could happen in the upcoming African qualifiers for the 2026 World Cup in Mexico, the United States and Canada.
What is clear is that in his career, he was able to showcase his eye for goal. He took his first steps in football with Hertha Berlin and carved out a career in European football with spells at Benfica in Portugal and then Salzburg in Austria. He then excelled at Brøndby in Denmark before being signed in 2020 by Nashville SC to play in the MLS.
Across the pond, he has shown impressive form and is the main man in the team, having scored 65 goals and registered 39 assists in 119 games. He also has a celebration that’s become iconic: He faces the stands, his left hand behind his torso and his right hand above his right eyebrow and he salutes, as if the fans were his captains.
During the tournament, his team has left Colorado Rapids and Toluca FC in their wake in the group stages, and in the knockout rounds they’ve taken out FC Cincinnati, Club América, Minnesota United FC, and CF Monterrey. They’ll now be looking to get the better of Inter Miami CF in the semi-finals.
In terms of individual statistics at Leagues Cup 2023, Mukhtar has scored two goals in six games, but has also been a key creator in a Nashville SC attack that has put away seven goals in two games. Saturday’s match will be the most important in the club’s history - will Mukhtar be able to give his fans a military salute once more?