By Alaric Gomes, Senior Reporter www.gulfnews.com
Dubai: Inaugural UFL champions Al Ahli unveiled their two latest signings as the senior squad trained one last time before embarking on their tour to Australia Wednesday.
Chilean attacking playmaker Luis Jimenez and Emirati Amir Mubarak were unveiled before the media at the Armani Hotel here yesterday in the presence of Ahmad Hamad Khalifa, CEO, Al Ahli, and former Italy skipper Fabio Cannavaro, who now acts as the club’s brand ambassador.
“We welcome these new players to our club and wish them all the best. We have watched them both closely and we have signed them as they bring in value to our team,” Khalifa said in his welcome note. After winning the inaugural version of the professional league in 2008-’09, Al Ahli have struggled after finishing in eighth position for the past two years.
Jimenez, who turned 27 in June, has played for some of the top clubs in Italy including Fiorentina, Lazio, Internazionale, Parma and Cesena with who he was on loan from Ternana last season. The Chilean also spent a season in the English Premier League with West Ham United for whom he turned up on 11 occasions finding the goal once.
But now with a fresh challenge beckoning him, Jimenez, who donned national colours for Chile during the recent Copa America, is eager on his latest assignment in Dubai. “I have spent too many years in Europe and I was on the look out for a fresh opportunity in my career. I needed a change and a new challenge and that prompted me to look at the UAE and Al Ahli in particular,” he said. “I wanted a winning club and Al Ahli seemed to be the right choice. And now with each passing day I think I have made the right decision by choosing a club like Al Ahli,” he added.
Jimenez is married to Chilean model Maria Jose Lopez and the couple have triplets together, all girls — Rebeca, Isidora and Rafaela, born on June 15 last year.
Amir Mubarak, who has made the move from Al Nasr, is hoping to help his new club with some trophies. “I hope this year will be a successful one for Al Ahli. We have a challenge before us and we need to put in the hard work and deliver by winning trophies by the end of the season,” Mubarak said.
“Al Ahli is a good club they are big and I hope we can live up to expectations. Things are not going to be easy for sure. And anyone who prepares well for the season will win,” he added.
Mubarak, who is a regular in Srecko Katanec’s UAE squad is hopeful he can rise to the challenge. “Winning will be very much on our mind, but I also want to evolve into an all-round player. So the focus will be on good health.” More info