Diarra links up with Jazira in Venlo
Al Jazira players and coach Henk ten Cate pour water on Emirati striker Ahmed Khalil after a training session in Venlo, The Netherlands.
Former Real Madrid and Chelsea midfielder Lassana Diarra has linked up with his new team Al Jazira in The Netherlands.
The 32-year-old French international, who joined the Arabian Gulf League champions on a free transfer from French Ligue 1 club Olympique de Marseille, joined the squad in the Dutch city of Venlo, on the third day of the camp.
Diarra, who has also played for Arsenal, met his new mates and took part in the training session and a gym work out later. Al Jazira's Emirati midfielder Yaqoub Al Hosani welcomed the new foreign recruit by posting a picture with Diarra on his twitter account. "Big welcome to our team, brother. I wish you all the best and more success," said the 30-year-old.
The squad have been undergoing rigorous training over the past few days. But it hasn't been just all work and no play for the Pride of Abu Dhabi. There has been a relaxed atmosphere and good camaraderie within the squad and the lads have enjoyed some lighter moments with their Dutch coach Henk ten Cate.
Dutchman Henk ten Cate, formerly an assistant coach with FC Barcelona and Chelsea and head coach of Ajax, has transformed this team into a fighting unit. His infusion of young blood, coupled with an attacking style of play, helped Al Jazira clinch their second League title.
Henk ten Cate enjoyed a ride on a bicycle on the streets on Venlo and later joined his lads in 'welcoming' Emirati striker Ahmed Khalil. The squad planned a surprise by pouring water on him as he made his way back from the pitch. Khalil joined the Pride of Abu Dhabi on a free transfer from Al Ahli, which has now merged with Al Shabab and Dubai FC to become Shabab Al Ahli Dubai.
Three of their Olympic team players, who were on duty with the UAE squad in the AFC Under-23 qualifiers, are expected to join the camp soon.
Meanwhile, Al Nasr left for their pre-season camp to Slovenia on Thursday morning. The 28-man squad, along with coach Cesare Prandelli and Hassan Suhail, member of the board of directors of Al Nasr Football Company and assistant supervisor of the first team, flew out from the Dubai International Airport.
The squad will train in Slovenia until August 1 after which they make the trip to Hungary for the second phase of their camp from August 1 to 14.
Elsewhere, the Al Wasl squad celebrated their coach Rodolfo Arruabarrena's birthday. The Argentine turned 41 on Thursday. The squad are currently in Munich, Germany on their pre-season camp.
Meanwhile, Al Wahda are busy preparing for the Arab Club Championship in Cairo, Egypt.
Shabab Al Ahli Dubai assemble for first time
The newly-formed Shabab Al Ahli Dubai squad assembled for the first time for pre-season training at the Rashid Stadium in Dubai on Thursday evening.
Romanian tactician Cosmin Olaroiu is the coach of the team with Abdulmajeed Hussein being the supervisor.
A sprinkling of fans watched the team as they assembled for a photo op before they took part in a training session. The squad are set to embark for their pre-season camp to The Netherlands on July 24. They are expected to return on August 20.