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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 October 2018

Al Ain sign Colombian winger Danilo Asprilla to replace disappointing Ryan Babel

Asprilla, recruited from Bulgaria’s Litex Lovech, was introduced at the Sheikh Khalifa International Stadium on Monday having passed a medical and finalised his two-and-a-half-year contract, reports John McAuley.
Al Ain coach Zlatko Dalic, right, welcomes the club's newest signing Danilo Asprilla, second from right, along with club officials on Monday night at the Sheikh Khalifa International Stadium. Courtesy Al Ain Football Club
Al Ain coach Zlatko Dalic, right, welcomes the club's newest signing Danilo Asprilla, second from right, along with club officials on Monday night at the Sheikh Khalifa International Stadium. Courtesy Al Ain Football Club

New Al Ain signing Danilo Asprilla says he is aware of the responsibility that comes with playing for the UAE champions.

The Colombian winger, recruited from Bulgaria’s Litex Lovech, was introduced to the media at the Sheikh Khalifa International Stadium on Monday night having passed a medical and finalised his two-and-a-half-year contract.

He replaces in the squad Ryan Babel, the former Liverpool forward who has been informed that he does not feature in coach Zlatko Dalic’s plans. Babel is expected to move back to the Turkish Super Lig this month.

Read more: Babel to Turkey, Sow to stay at Ahli? Five potential AGL transfers this January

Asprilla, 26, said he rejected an offer from Saudi Arabia’s Al Ahli and various European clubs to sign for Al Ain. He has not played competitively for two weeks because of the break in the Bulgarian league, but will be assessed to determine if he is physically ready for Friday’s Arabian Gulf League match against Al Dhafra. Al Ain currently top the table at the halfway stage.

“I know the club’s goals are high and I understand what is required of me as a professional player here,” Asprilla said. “I always challenge myself to be better and to give a strong performance, which I look forward to showing at Al Ain.”

“I achieved a lot with my team in Bulgaria and now is the time to enter into a new experience.”

Born in Medellin, Colombia, Asprilla made his senior debut in 2010 for Uruguay’s Rampla Juniors before returning to his homeland two years later. He moved to Europe last year and has featured in 60 league matches for Lovech, scoring 23 goals.​

jmcauley@thenational.ae

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