Jiminez joins Ahli

DUBAI — Chilean playmaker Luis Jiminez has joined Dubai club Al Ahli, raising doubts about the future of former Juventus and Italy captain Fabio Cannavaro at the club.

By (AP)

Published: Thu 30 Jun 2011, 11:33 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 8:10 AM

Cannavaro, who signed a two-year deal in 2010, has been hobbled by injuries and has done little to inspire the 2009 domestic champions who finished eight this season. The addition of Jiminez, who transfers from Italian club Cesena, means the club now has five foreign players. That puts it above the league cap which allows one foreigner from Asia and three from the rest of the world.

The club has until now denied widespread media reports that it plans to release Cannavaro, having also signed Brazilians Grafite and Jaja in recent weeks.

In an interview with The Associated Press on Monday, the club’s chief executive Ahmed Khalifa refused to discuss the future of Cannavaro and only would say it was “illogical” to drop the Italian when he was on vacation in the United States.

Khalifa could not be reached Thursday to comment on the club’s latest signing. Cannavaro, for his part, insisted earlier this month he will back next season. He has not commented since then.

“I am still a player and I want to wear the club’s logo until the end of my contract,” Cannavaro said in an interview with the Pro League’s website. “Besides, I have not yet decided when I will retire.”

Cannavaro often appeared a step too slow at last year’s World Cup, and was responsible in part for the two goals Italy allowed against Paraguay and New Zealand. His disappointing performance followed on the heels of a final season in Juventus where he often appeared past his prime.

Cannavaro, who played in his fourth World Cup and has a record 136 caps for Italy, has also played for Real Madrid and Inter Milan during his career. He signed for Al Ahli after Juventus said it would not extend his contract.

The signing of Jiminez along with the two Brazilian strikers appears to be an effort by Al Alhi to bolster an offense that often appeared anemic last season. It scored the second fewest goals of any of the 12 clubs last season.

A club spokesman said on Thursday that Jiminez signed a four-year deal and will join the club July 1 from Cesena, where he scored nine goals in 23 games matches. The 27-year-old Jimenez also is expected play for his country at next month’s Copa America.

He joins Grafite who came over from German club Wolfsburg on a two-year deal, along with Jaja who transfered from Turkish club Trabzonspor.

The club has also brought in Czech coach Ivan Hasek for a second time to replace former Leeds and Aston Villa manager David O’Leary, who was fired after one season. —

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