Marcus Berg rejects offers from Turkey and Greece to remain at Al Ain
Sweden striker, who has one more year remaining on his contract, says he is happy at the club before losing Arabian Gulf League Super Cup match on penalties to Al Wahda
Al Ain striker Marcus Berg says he rejected interest from Europe this summer to remain at the UAE champions.
The Sweden international, 32, was a huge success last season during his debut campaign in UAE football, scoring 36 goals in 36 appearances to fire Al Ain to both the Arabian Gulf League title and the President’s Cup crown. He also sealed the top flight's Golden Boot.
The frontman’s form reportedly garnered attention from a number of clubs in Turkey and Greece, including Goztepe, PAOK and AEK Athens. Berg’s stock remains high in Greece having spent four prolific seasons at Panathinaikos before moving to Al Ain on a two-year contract.
However, speaking before this weekend’s Arabian Gulf Super Cup, Berg insisted he and his family were happy in the Emirates as Al Ain look to build on last season’s success.
"There have been different European clubs and some in Greece who have shown interest,” he told Swedish publication Aftonbladet. “I'm in a good club and have a good contract with a year left, so I have not had any thought of changing club this summer.”
Part of the Sweden team who last month reached the World Cup quarter-finals, Berg featured in Saturday night’s Super Cup clash with Al Wahda, the traditional season-opener in UAE football.
Al Ain were 3-0 down at half time at Cairo’s 30 June Stadium before fighting back to level the match and force penalties, although Wahda went on to win the shoot-out. Berg missed from the spot in regulation time but then sparked the fight-back with a goal from open play. He converted also in the shoot-out.
On his side's first-half performance, Berg said: “We have to apologise to everyone. It was not Al Ain; it was not our quality. It was very bad from the start. So we have to be ashamed for that. In the second half we showed different quality and the level we should perform at.
"The first half we have to look back and see what we can do better. The second half, it’s the lowest level we should have for this season. We can perform like this the full year for every game. Both first and second half we have to learn from.
“When we play like the second half, this is our level. First half, when we’re not concentrated, when not doing the things we should, then we hurt ourselves. That’s the truth. So we have to learn from this and look forward to the season.”
Al Ain open their Arabian Gulf League defence on Friday, away to Emirates club.
Updated: August 26, 2018 03:09 PM