Baniyas’ newest signing Royston Drenthe hopes to ‘play as well as Cristiano Ronaldo’
Abu Dhabi // Royston Drenthe, the former Real Madrid winger who completes the foreign quartet at Baniyas, hopes for a performance akin to that of Cristiano Ronaldo with the No 7 shirt at the club.
“No 8 is my preferred choice, because I won the Uefa European U21 championship, but I never got that number again as it was already taken in the teams that I played in thereafter,” Drenthe said when he was presented to the media at the Baniyas stadium on Tuesday night.
“However, it doesn’t matter to me anymore because I have done well wearing the No 10 and No 11 shirts for the teams I played, and I hope with this No 7 shirt I can play as well as Cristiano Ronaldo.”
Drenthe, 28, signed an extendable one-year deal on a free transfer after the Turkish club Kayseri Erciyesspor were relegated from the Super Lig.
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At Baniyas, he will form a new partnership alongside the Algeria international Ishak Benfodil, Argentine forward Joaquin Larrivey and Mark Milligan, the Australia international.
“Basically, it is very simple,” he said when asked what he brings to Baniyas with his experience.
“I want to play and win every game and win titles. That’s my spirit. I have more than 10 years as a professional player and I have not come here to just play, but help the club win titles.
“I have learnt a lot from the older players (Fabio) Cannavaro and (Arjen) Robben, but that doesn’t mean I can’t learn from the youngsters at Baniyas.”
Baniyas have had a perfect start, winning both of their Arabian Gulf League games. They travel to Fujairah on Friday.
“Drenthe will travel with the team. He may not start, but he can be called at anytime during the match,” Luis Garcia, the Baniyas coach, said when asked if the new signing was ready for action in the next match.
“The foreign signings have done well so far and we hope Drenthe will add more strength. He is versatile and can play in many positions, so he is a useful player for us.”
Drenthe prefers to play as a winger, on the left or the right, and said he can be “120 per cent” effective in that role.
“I can play as a left back, too, but that’s not my favourite position,” he said. “The coach will decide where I play, and I would be more than happy to play in whatever the role the coach has decided me to play.
“But I know what I can do and hopefully we can be successful, that’s the most important thing to me. We have six points from two matches, so let’s see what’s going to happen.”
Drenthe, whose parents are from Suriname, was born in Rotterdam. He began his youth career at Feynoord in 2000 and graduated to the first team five years later.
He was unveiled as a Real Madrid player in 2007 and made 65 appearances for Madrid, scoring four goals in five seasons. During that period, he also spent loan spells at Primera Liga minnows Hercules in 2010/11 and Premier League club Everton in 2011/12.
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