Leko to coach record AGL champions Al Ain


Leko to coach record AGL champions Al Ain
Ivan Leko holds the Al Ain FC scarf. - Al Ain Twitter

Dubai - The Boss also sign playmaker Caio Canedo from Al Wasl

By James Jose

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Published: Fri 7 Jun 2019, 9:22 PM

Last updated: Fri 7 Jun 2019, 11:28 PM

Following a turbulent season, record Arabian Gulf League champions Al Ain have wasted little time in setting things right by signing a new coach as well as an attacking midfielder.
The 13-time League winners, who finished fourth in the season gone by, announced Ivan Leko as the man who will lead the club in the new season and beyond.
The 41-year-old Croatian was handed a two-year contract and replaces Spaniard Juan Carlos Garrido, who had taken over in February following Zoran Mamic's departure to Saudi Arabia's Al Hilal.
Al Ain, known as 'The Boss,' have also swooped for playmaker Caio Canedo, who joins from League rivals Al Wasl.
"Al Ain has officially signed Croatian manager Ivan Leko to lead the first team until 2021," Mohammed Obaid Hammad, Member of the Board of Directors of Al Ain Football Club and General Supervisor of the first team, told the club's official website.
"We were keen on continuing with the Croatian style of play which has contributed to Al Ain's success in the past. And everyone felt Leko was the most suitable to lead the team during the next two seasons," he added.
Hammad also revealed that there would be more player signings as they plan an overhaul of their foreign contingent.
Leko, capped 13 times by Croatia, joins from Belgian First Division side Club Brugge. He becomes the third Croatian to guide the side after Zlatko Dalic, the current coach of Croatia, as well as Mamic.
"After two successful seasons with Club Brugge, I was really looking for a club that had great goals and ambitions. And I found that with Al Ain," Leko told the club's official website.
"It is a team that aspires to win titles on different fronts. I will spare no effort in meeting the ambitions of the club and its fans," added Leko, who won the Jupiler Pro League and the Belgian Super Cup in 2018.
And Leko revealed that he had been in contact with Dalic before making his decision to move to the Middle East.
"I have been in touch with Dalic and he was all praise for the club. His advice played an influential role in me taking on this new challenge. I hope to follow in the footsteps of Dalic and Mamic, who won trophies with this club," he said.
Meanwhile, Canedo joins Al Ain after four seasons with Al Wasl, in a deal worth $6 million. Canedo has been given a three-year contract and replaces Brazilian Caio Fernandes.

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