Argentina's Scocco signs deal with Al Ain
Ignacio Scocco, the Argentine winger, has become Al Ain's first signing since the nine-time league champions decided to replace all three of their foreign players for the new season.
"We have signed a two-year contract with Scocco," Awadh bin Hassum, the chief executive of the club, said yesterday.
Scocco, 26, had signed a three-year, €3.6million (Dh 19.3m) contract with Greek Super League side AEK Athens that would have kept him at the club until 2013, but he also had a buyout clause in the deal.
Scocco is the first of the foreign players being recruited to replace the midfielder Brahima Keita of Ivory Coast, and the forwards Elias Ribeiro of Brazil and Romanian Valentin Badea.
His signing comes two days after Al Ain completed a two-year deal with the Romanian coach Cosmin Olaroiu.
Scocco is an attacking midfielder who can play on either wing. He is known for his dribbling ability and pace, and for his trademark long-range shots.
The Argentine began his career with Newell's Old Boys in 2003 and made his debut in the Argentine top-flight competition against San Lorenzo at the age of 19.
He scored 17 goals and played alongside Fernando Belluschi and Ariel Ortega in the Apertura-winning team of 2004.
He moved to Europe for €1.5m in 2008 on a three-year contract to AEK Athens after two years with the Mexican club UNAM Pumas.
Scocco won 12 caps with the Argentina Under 20 side, was part of the Fifa Youth World Cup team in 2005 and played alongside Lionel Messi and Sergio Aguero.
He was called up to the national side for a friendly against Chile in April 2005 and did not make an appearance, but he played for 20 minutes in an unofficial friendly against Guatemala in February 2008