x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Al Ain are unfazed by Diaz departure

Andre Diaz and Al Ain decide to part ways after failing to reach an agreement over a new deal.

Andre Diaz scored 23 goals with Al Ain last season.
Andre Diaz scored 23 goals with Al Ain last season.

DUBAI // Andre Diaz and Al Ain have decided to part ways after failing to reach an agreement over a new deal. The Brazilian striker, Al Ain's top scorer last season with 23, wanted to extend his break by another four weeks to continue his recuperation from an injury at home, but the club turned down his request.

Before leaving for his summer break in Brazil, Diaz said he has offers from an Abu Dhabi club and another in Dubai. "The negotiations, however, have not reached a serious stage and cannot be described as formal," he added. Diaz, 28, who joined Al Ain from Al Wasl last year, expects to be fully fit by the first week of September and hopes to return to UAE to continue his career. He had formed a lethal partnership with Jorge Valdivia last season and together the duo helped Al Ain clinch the Etisalat and President's Cup titles.

The team management, however, did not seem too upset about allowing their prolific goalscorer to leave. "I am not too worried about this," said Majed al Owais, director of Al Ain's first team. "The club management is working on getting a super striker and the fans will not be disappointed." The nine-time league champions are reportedly in talks with Chilean "wonder boy" Alexis Sanchez and the name of Ghana international Asamoah Gyan, who plays for French side Rennes, is also doing the rounds among club fans.

Meanwhile, Al Ain started their pre-season campaign with a 3-1 win over Swiss third division side FC Naters on Friday night. Al Ahli, the Pro League champions, will take on the might of Chelsea's superstars in a friendly game on August 19. The game at Stamford Bridge is one of four friendly matches Ahli will play on the England leg of their pre-season camp. Ahli, who are currently training in Austria, will fly to England later this week and play their first match against West Ham on August 8. Two days later they will play against Portsmouth and play their third friendly on August 12 against a yet to be decided team before taking on Chelsea.

Ahli's new Iranian professional Mehrzad Madanchi has been unable to join the team in Austria due to a delay in getting his visa. He is expected to link up with his teammates in England. Corinthians midfielder Douglas Dos Santos has become the latest Brazilian to join Al Wasl, who finished seventh out of 12 teams last season. "I won three titles in a year with Corinthians and leave a happy man," Douglas told AFC.com.

"Al Wasl's proposal was interesting for my future," added the 27-year-old playmaker, who has signed a four-year deal with the seven-time UAE champions. Douglas is the third Brazilian to join Wasl this summer following strikers Rogeiro and Alexander Oliviera. Al Jazira confirmed the signing of Brazilian striker Ricardo Oliveira, 29, from Real Betis yesterday. "It is important to have a player like Oliveira," said Al Jazira board member Hamad Al Sowaidi on the club's official website. "He will be a good addition to the team next season."

arizvi@thenational.ae