Al Ahli renew Grafite’s contract for another season

Al Ahli renew Grafite’s contract for another season

Club chairman Al Naboodah confirms 1-year extension



By James Jose (james@khaleejtimes.com)

Published: Thu 22 May 2014, 10:49 AM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 9:21 PM

Al Ahli’s Grafite heads the ball during the recent President’s Cup final against Al Ain. — KT photo by Nezar Balout

Al Ahli’s Grafite heads the ball during the recent President’s Cup final against Al Ain. — KT photo by Nezar Balout

Twice Foreign Player of the Year Grafite will remain with newly-crowned Arabian Gulf League champions Al Ahli for another season, club chairman Abdullah bin Saeed Al Naboodah told Khaleej Times.

The Brazilian’s one-year contract was coming to an end but the club decided to renew it by another year. “Yes,” said club chairman Abdullah bin Saeed Al Naboodah when asked whether Grafite would stay at Al Ahli.

“Grafite’s contract has been renewed for another year,” Abdullah bin Saeed Al Naboodah added. Grafite joined the Red Knight from German club Wolfsburg in 2011 and has been instrumental in them winning five titles in three seasons. His stellar showing also saw him take on the captain’s arm-band.

The 35-year-old won the Foreign Player of the Year Award for a second consecutive season at the Arabian Gulf League Awards, last week. He scored 19 goals in the League, the fourth highest in the League, including four braces. He had previously won the Award last year when it was called the Etisalat UAE Pro-League Awards.

“I had several offers from Brazil but I rejected them. I wanted to stay here with Al Ahli because I’m very happy with the club. I would like to remain a part of this club. I have adapted well and we just had a fantastic season where we won many titles and made history. I want to stay here and make more history with the club,” said Grafite, who has 76 goals from 87 appearances across all competitions in the UAE. Al Ahli won the season-opening Arabian Super Cup and then went on to win the Arabian Gulf Cup. They also won the Arabian Gulf League but missed out on the prestigious President’s Cup to fierce rivals Al Ain.

Meanwhile, Abdullah bin Saeed Al Naboodah hinted that the foreign contingent could remain more or less the same and said that they would be looking at reinforcements as far as Emirati players were concerned.

“Looking at next season, there will be some improvements. Most probably, it will be the local players that we would be looking at in the summer,” Abdullah bin Saeed Al Naboodah said. Al Ahli’s foreign recruits are Grafite, midfielder Luis Antonio Jimenez and forwards Hugo Viana and Ciel.

Al Ahli also swept the Arabian Gulf League Awards, lapping up five awards out of eight categories. They also had six players in the Best XI of the Year.

Abdullah bin Saeed Al Naboodah was pleased with that and said it was all down to the hard work put in by the players.

“They deserved it, they worked hard. It has been a long season and all of them deserved it. Football is a team game. Everyone who won the trophy, will thank his teammates for helping him to get it,” Abdullah bin Saeed Al Naboodah said.


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