x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Al Ahli recruit Quaresma keen to start work

The 29 year old vows to give his best at 'one of the most successful teams in Dubai'.

Ricardo Quaresma, right, moves to UAE with the pedigree of having played for Barcelona, Chelsea and Inter Milan among others. Christopher Pike / The National
Ricardo Quaresma, right, moves to UAE with the pedigree of having played for Barcelona, Chelsea and Inter Milan among others. Christopher Pike / The National

DUBAI // Ricardo Quaresma may have seemed a touch blase yesterday at his official unveiling as an Al Ahli player, yet the Pro League's latest big-name signing insists he is determined to help his new club fight for trophies.

The Portuguese winger accepted the opportunity to join the Dubai club last Friday on an 18-month contract, with an option of a further year, having been released by the Turkish side Besiktas.

The addition of a footballer who cites as past employers some of Europe's grandest clubs represents a significant coup for Ahli, who believe Quaresma can provide the extra ingredient to beat Al Ain, the league leaders, to this season's title.

"I'm very happy to be at Al Ahli club, who are one of the most successful teams in Dubai," said Quaresma, a former Barcelona, Inter Milan, Chelsea and Porto player.

"I'm looking forward to working very hard with my teammates to win trophies and achieve the goals of the club.

"I have a strong desire to start working right away and to give the best of myself."

Quaresma, flanked at yesterday's press conference by Ahmed Khalifa, the Ahli chief executive, and a translator provided the club, wore his black baseball cap pulled down to just above his eyes, with his heavily tattooed arms showing beneath his short-sleeved white shirt.

The attacker, 29, arrived only hours before the meeting with the media, and immediately afterwards attended a first training session with the coach Quique Sanchez Flores and his new teammates.

"I don't know that much about the league and Al Ahli, but I just want to start working and do what I love doing - playing football," said Quaresma, a current Portugal international with 36 appearances for the senior national team.

"I spoke to Quique before signing and he gave me an idea of what it is like to live in Dubai and play with the club, although the most important for me is that my family and I are happy."

Quaresma has not played since leaving Besiktas last month following a falling- out with his manager and, despite Khalifa revealing he was unaware of the player's level of fitness, he is expected to feature against Al Ain when the league resumes on January 21.

Ahli are third in the table, eight points behind the champions Al Ain, and feel the addition of Quaresma will see them challenge the Garden City club for the title.

"We're very confident of that," Khalifa said. "You can see that from the way Ricardo is talking and the chairman has given him that objective. And remember, he has to work hard because he is a national team player with Portugal and must therefore keep his place.

"At the moment Ricardo is the biggest signing in this window [for the Pro League]. Maybe he will be for the whole of 2013."

jmcauley@thenational.ae

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