Having started out in the back alleys of his Safi neighbourhood, Hamdallah began honing his skills on clay pitches after joining an amateur club. Despite his young age, his talent rapidly shone through in more senior company, and he promptly steered his team to success in local tournaments.
Advised to seek out opportunities at a higher level, Hamdallah then earned himself a place in the youth side of OC Safi in 2006. He was swiftly promoted to the B team a few months later, before finishing top scorer in the Moroccan championship in 2010 and winning international recognition at U-19 level.
The following season, he outscored his peers in the Moroccan elite once again, and was soon offered a number of lucrative deals by clubs in the Persian Gulf. Tempting though they were, Hamdallah was determined to pursue a lifelong dream of plying his trade in Europe. "I had lots of offers and didn't know which one to accept," he said. "My friends advised me to go to Norway rather than the Gulf. As a child, I used to wear the shirts of European clubs and dreamt of seeing the next generation wear shirts with my name on the back. Thanks to God, I chose Aalesund."
Many were taken aback by his decision to sign for the Norwegian side. Even Aalesund's own supporters gave him a frosty welcome, before quickly discovering that their new signing had an innate gift for putting the ball in the net. After joining the Scandinavian side in March 2013, Hamdallah made an instant impact, blasting 20 goals in 30 appearances.
"It was a difficult experience because I arrived in a country that's very cold," he said. "But through an effort of will, I overcame every obstacle. I was the first player from the Moroccan championship to come to Norway, and my signing generated a lot of attention in the newspapers. In the end, I was able to silence my critics by finishing as one of the leading scorers in the league."
Fresh from serving further notice of his talent, Hamdallah opted to continue his career on a third separate continent, with Chinese side Guangzhou R&F bringing him on board earlier this year. Yet again, he was venturing to a part of the world with a very different culture, but the 23-year-old notched 17 strikes in 16 matches to lift himself high up the scorers' table.
I hope to be a part of the Morocco side that lifts the Cup of Nations in 2015.
Abderrazak Hamdallah, Morocoo forward on his international ambitions.
He hopes now to be crowned leading marksman in China and become one of only a select band of players to have achieved that feat in a trio of leagues. "My goal is to finish top scorer," he said. "In addition to wanting to play in the AFC Champions League, I want to win the golden boot in the Chinese championship – and why not one day become a top scorer on all six continents? Nothing is impossible in football."
What is certain is that the language barrier will not get in his way. He may have only recently arrived, yet Hamdallah is slowly but surely helping his team approach the upper reaches of a league dominated by Guangzhou Evergrande, recently firing his team to victory in the derby. "Football is an international language and, on the pitch, you can be surrounded by team-mates from several countries," said the Safi native. "It's football that's always brought me together with my colleagues, whether in Norway or China. We all speak the same language."
Hamdallah has been spending much of his free time at Guangzhou's famous zoo, watching the big cats and dreaming of a fresh opportunity with the Atlas Lions. His international statistics may not make for convincing reading, but, having sparkled en route to the Olympics, he feels he merits fairer treatment. "Morocco fans don't like me, but I haven't really been given a chance with the senior team," he explained. "I've only played two competitive games, and I scored a goal and got an assist. I don't think people can ask for more than that."
Those same supporters are currently hoping Morocco can end their long wait for triumph at the CAF Africa Cup of Nations. Their sole win came in 1976, but with the 2015 edition to be held on home soil, expectations are on the rise – and Hamdallah is determined to be a part of the adventure. "Our people love football and they're hungry for titles," said the forward, recently called up by new coach Badou Zaki. "It doesn't make sense that our players are based in the very biggest leagues and yet we can't win anything. I hope to be a part of the Morocco side that lifts the Cup of Nations in 2015."
Hamdallah's exploits on three different continents will surely count in his favour as Morocco try out their options in the run-up to the tournament. Indeed, at this rate, he may soon be lauded for his goalscoring pedigree in all four corners of the globe.