Everton Ribeiro justifies move to champions-elect Al Ahli: ‘When I came, I wanted to win titles’
The 27-year-old Brazilian playmaker was one of the most sought-after players in his homeland when he joined the Dubai side in February last year from Cruzeiro for a reported €9 million (Dh37m) fee. He signed a four-year deal.
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At the time, Ribeiro’s decision to come to the UAE was questioned by some, including the Brazilian media and even Al Shabab coach Caio Junior. Ribeiro had just lifted Cruzeiro to the Brazilian championship and was subsequently voted the league’s best player for a second successive season. He reportedly had offers from several high-profile European clubs, such as Manchester United, AC Milan and Monaco.
However, Ribeiro chose Ahli and has become one of the Arabian Gulf League’s key men, with six assists and nine goals this season to help the club top the table. On Thursday, he created Ahmed Khalil’s winner in the title-defining clash with second-placed Al Ain, a 1-0 victory that extended Ahli’s advantage at the summit to six points with three rounds remaining.
Ribeiro, who also starred in last year’s run to the Asian Champions League final, says clinching the UAE championship would prove he made the right decision in moving to Ahli.
“When I came here, I wanted to win titles,” said the playmaker, who was mobbed in celebration by Ahli fans outside the Rashid Stadium late Thursday night. “Results like this, this is why I came to Al Ahli. I congratulate all the players, and the supporters for coming here for this big game. I am very happy.
“My team played very well. Now we have even more chance to take the league - this makes me happy.”
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