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Opportunity knocked for Oliveira

Al Jazira's new Brazilian signing Ricardo Oliveira revealed yesterday that he chose to leave Real Betis to move to the lesser known UAE Pro League because the Abu Dhabi side offered him "a unique oppurtunity".

ABU DHABI // Al Jazira's new Brazilian signing Ricardo Oliveira revealed yesterday that he chose to leave Real Betis and Spanish football to move to the lesser known UAE Pro League because the Abu Dhabi side offered him "a unique oppurtunity". The striker, 29, who had a brief stint with Italian giants AC Milan, told Marca: "It was an offer I couldn't refuse. It's an offer that will also benefit Betis and Real Zaragoza, my former club, who have also been instrumental in moving this deal forward."

Jazira's record fee of ?14 million (Dh73m) to sign Oliveira will be divided between Betis - who were relegated from the Primera Liga last season - and Zaragoza, from whom Betis signed him in January. Oliveira added: "It was a difficult decision to make, but an important one. I think this was the opportune moment for me and my family. "These are unique opportunities which don't come along again and, thinking about my family and after speaking with them, I had to make this decision."

Oliveira will join up with compatriot and former Betis player Rafael Sobis, the previous UAE record signing at ?10m, on a reported three-year deal with the Abu Dhabi club. Meanwhile, Al Ain are left with a selection dilemma as they decide on their three foreign professionals and one Asian player for the new season. They were set to unveil the overseas players yesterday, but the ceremony was postponed.

The Purples are in talks with the Chile-based Argentine striker Lucas Barrios, who they want to bring in for the Brazilian Andre Diaz, who has not retur-ned from a holiday in Brazil. To add to the confusion, their explosive Moroccan winger Soufianne Alloudi is fit again after missing most of the last season from a knee injury. Alloudi has a three-year contract that runs up to 2011l. @Email:apassela@thenational.ae

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