Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
Al Shabab’s new quartet of players, from left, Abdullah Faraj, Carlos Villanueva, Hassan Mohammed Zayed and Fahad Khalfan.
Al Shabab’s new quartet of players, from left, Abdullah Faraj, Carlos Villanueva, Hassan Mohammed Zayed and Fahad Khalfan.

Arabian Gulf League: Family ties for Carlos Villanueva at Al Shabab

Chilean player excited and feeling right at home after returning from spell on loan, reports Ahmed Rizvi.

DUBAI // Carlos Villanueva is excited to be back with his "family" at Al Shabab after missing the last season due to a knee injury.

Villanueva, 27, was loaned out to the Chilean club Club Deportivo Universidad Catolica in January following his recovery from a cruciate ligament surgery that had kept him out of action for six months.

The Chilean, who arrived at Shabab in 2009 from the English Premier League club Blackburn, was unable to force his way back into Marcos Paqueta's squad during the winter transfer window, but the club were keen to bring him back into the team for the new season and turned down numerous offers for the midfielder.

Villanueva, who made 11 appearances for Universidad, will replace Luis Henrique, the Brazilian midfielder who will be turning out for the Ras Al Khaimah club Emirates in the new season.

"I am very happy to be back here in Shabab," said Villanueva, who has extended his contract with Shabab till the end of the 2015. "I feel very comfortable here. They treat me like I am part of the family here and because of this I feel at home here.

"In Chile, I played for four months and I felt really good. I played a lot of games and I think I did well and got my confidence back. My knee is 100 per cent now and that's the most important thing. Now I am concentrating on working hard and having a good season with Shabab, and hopefully we will win something."

Villanueva, who has made 53 appearances for Shabab since 2009 and scored 13 goals, was a big hit at Universidad Catolica, as he returned home to Chile for the first time since leaving the country for Blackburn in 2008. The director of Universidad and, seemingly, all of the club's fans wanted the diminutive playmaker to stay, but Villanueva wanted to be back to honour his contract with Shabab.

"It was not a very difficult decision to make because I wanted to be back at Shabab," Villanueva said. "The [Universidad] director wanted me to stay back, but I have a contract. All the fans also wanted me to stay back and that means I did a good job there.

"It was nice to be back in my country playing after five or six years, but now my focus is on having a really good season with Shabab."

Villanueva spoke to the media late last night as Shabab presented the Chilean along with their three new domestic recruits - Abdullah Faraj from Al Jazira, Hassan Mohammed Zayed of Sharjah and Fujairah's Fahad Khalfan.

"Shabab are a club with big ambitions and I hope to win a trophy with the club next season," Faraj said. "There are a lot of good players here and I will work hard to force my way into the team and help the team achieve their ambitions."

arizvi@thenational.ae

twitter Follow us @SprtNationalUAE

Back to the top

More articles


Editor's Picks

 Floyd Mayweather lands punches on trainer Nate Jones on Tuesday at the Mayweather Boxing Club in Las Vegas ahead of his May 3 championship unification bout with Marcos Maidana. Ethan Miller / Getty Images / AFP / April 22, 2014

In pictures: Floyd Mayweather trains for Maidana fight

Images from earlier in the week as Floyd Mayweather trained at the Mayweather Boxing Club in Las Vegas ahead of his May 3 championship unification fight with Marcos Maidana.

 UAE rugby player Adam Telford, right, catches the ball during a Test match against Singapore at The Sevens ground in Dubai on Wednesday. UAE lost the Asian 5 Nations match 30-13 to be relegated to the third tier of Asian rugby. Sarah Dea / The National / April 23, 2014

In pictures: UAE rugby in action against Singapore

Images from the Asian Five Nations Test for UAE rugby against Singapore on Wednesday night at The Sevens ground in Dubai.

 Ravindra Jadeja of Chennai Super Kings playing a shot in their Indian Premier League win over Rajasthan Royals at Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Wednesday. Jadeja scored 36 runs not out from 33 balls. Pawan Singh / The National / April 23, 2014

In pictures: Chennai Super Kings notch win behind do-everything Jadeja

Images from Wednesday night's Indian Premier League match in Dubai, where Ravindra Jadeja led Chennai Super Kings over Rajasthan Royals.

 Chris Gayle has been the most feared batsman in the Royal Challengers Bangalore line-up since he joined the team in 2011. Indranil Mukherjee / AFP

Parthiv continues to fill Gayle’s big shoes for Bangalore

Indian wicketkeeper-batsman will continue to open the innings for Royal Challengers with the West Indian still nursing his bad back, writes Paul Radley.

 Dana Shamlawi pulls a 4x4 car during the final day of the UAE Strongman Competition in Dubai. Delores Johnson / The National

UAE Strongman Competition takes weight training to a whole new scale

Two-day competition in Dubai attracts men and women from across the Emirates and proves it takes more than just bulky muscles to win, writes Ali Khaled.

 UAE’s Charlie Sargent tries to avoid a tackle by Singapore team members during the one-off Division 1 Test at The Sevens. The Singapore-born winger was making his debut. Sarah Dea / The National

Asian Five Nations: UAE go into rebuilding mode in Division 2

With a new look squad, including five emerging Emirati players, the UAE will hope to restructure and get into the winning habit in more forgiving climes when they drop a level in the revamped competition next season.

Events

To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National