x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Douglas was swayed by Ronaldo

Douglas Dos Santos, Al Wasl's new playmaker, says his fellow-Brazilian Ronaldo's praise of Dubai convinced him to make the UAE his home for the next four years.

DUBAI // Douglas Dos Santos, Al Wasl's new playmaker, says his fellow-Brazilian Ronaldo's praise of Dubai convinced him to make the UAE his home for the next four years. Douglas, Ronaldo's teammate at Corinthians last season when they won the Brazilian Cup and the Sao Paulo state championship, has signed an US$8 million (Dh29.4m) deal with the club until 2013. The 27-year-old attacking midfielder arrived in Dubai last week to finalise the deal and was happy he accepted the former Real Madrid and Inter Milan striker's advice.

"Ronaldo is a great player, a phenomenon and playing alongside him is an honour I will never forget," he said. "When Ronaldo heard that I was in talks with a club in Dubai, he urged me to take up the offer, describing the beauty of this country and the quality of life here. "Ronaldo has been to Dubai many times and told me it was a very safe place, good to stay with your family. As soon as I landed here, I realized Ronaldo's advice was on target."

Douglas is Wasl's fourth foreign recruit of the season, with the club determined to avoid the disappointments of the last two season. After winning the league and President's Cup double in 2007, Wasl finished seventh in the next two seasons, going through four coaches in a particularly chaotic campaign last year. They have a new coach at the helm now, Brazil's Alexandre Guimaraes, who has brought in Panamanian international striker Blas Perez after his impressive performances in the 2009 Concacaf Gold Cup.

The services of Brazilian Alexander Oliveira, who has been with the club since 2004, have been retained, but his compatriot Rogerinho has been farmed out to Fortaleza Esporte Clube, Brazil, on loan. "I know this is a big change for me, but I am happy to be here and looking forward to the start of the season," added Douglas. "I have really been heartened by the reception I have received here from the fans. I can assure you this is a lot better than what I got at Corinthians. So my target here will be to make the fans happy, just as they have made me feel so welcome here."

arizvi@thenational.ae