Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 July 2019

Caio not ruling out exit from Al Ain after Fifa Club World Cup heroics

The Brazilian is out of contract at end of season with Arabian Gulf League champions and said he was open to all options in the summer

Caio, centre, is expected to leave Al Ain for Benfica when his two-year contract expires this summer. Chris Whiteoak / The National
Caio, centre, is expected to leave Al Ain for Benfica when his two-year contract expires this summer. Chris Whiteoak / The National

Al Ain winger Caio has not ruled out the possibility of a transfer from the UAE champions after starring at this month’s Fifa Club World Cup.

The Brazilian, 24, excelled for the hosts throughout the tournament, scoring once and registering three assists as his side finished as surprise runners-up to Real Madrid.

Caio was presented with the Silver Ball immediately after Saturday’s 4-1 defeat in the final, an award given to the competition’s second-best player.

The former Kashima Antlers attacker, who joined Al Ain in July 2016, has for some time this season been linked with a move away, with Portugal’s Porto and Benfica mooted as holding an interest.

Caio has only six months remaining on his contract having originally signed a two-year deal with the club.

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Asked on Saturday night what’s next for him, and if he believed he would stay at Al Ain for the remainder of the campaign, Caio said: “I don’t know. I leave it for my agent and also God knows everything. I just do my best for my team and if the things will come I wait for them.

“I’m very happy to do what I do and I try to help my team. And like I said, if I do the best for my team, the things will come. I must wait for what my agent decides, what the club decides. I have a contract until June. If I have to stay I will stay.”

Caio played all four matches in his side’s shock run to the final. He had a hand in goals in every game, including scoring the equaliser to push last Tuesday’s semi-final against South American champions River Plate to extra-time and then penalties.

Then, in Saturday’s final at Zayed Sports City Stadium, Caio set up Tsukasa Shiotani to score, a goal that proved little more than consolation against the two-time defending champions.

However, Caio said Al Ain, third in the Arabian Gulf League at the halfway stage, should take a lot of confidence from their overall performance, after they created history by becoming the first UAE side to reach the Club World Cup final.

“It was a difficult match, but we gave 100 per cent to try to do something to beat Real Madrid,” he said. “But we must respect them — we know they’re Real Madrid. But we’re very happy to be in second place and now we have to just enjoy and take rest for the next games.

“When you go to the pitch, you must give 100 per cent. And if you come second we have to be proud of this because we did our best. We must enjoy now, be happy, not sad, because we played with a big, big teams.

“We take a lot of confidence. We must continue like this and do our best in the league.”

Updated: December 23, 2018 10:23 AM

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