Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 18 September 2019

Omar Abdulrahman travels with Al Hilal but future at Saudi club remains in doubt

Playmaker flew to Austria with team on Tuesday morning despite reports claiming the Saudi Arabia side would not renew his contract once it expires next month

Omar Abdulrahman has not played competitively since October, when he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in the Saudi Pro League match playing for Al Hilal. Getty Images
Omar Abdulrahman has not played competitively since October, when he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in the Saudi Pro League match playing for Al Hilal. Getty Images

UAE star Omar Abdulrahman has travelled with Al Hilal to Europe for pre-season amid question marks surrounding his future with the club.

The playmaker, 27, was part of the group who flew to Austria on Tuesday morning despite reports claiming the Saudi Arabia side would not renew his contract once it expires next month as he continues his recovery from serious knee injury.

Abdulrahman has not played competitively since tearing his anterior cruciate ligament last October during the Saudi Pro League match against Al Shabab Riyadh. He later underwent surgery, and spent the majority of the intervening period convalescing in Barcelona. He missed the 2019 Asian Cup earlier this year, which took place in the Emirates.

Doubts remain whether Abdulrahman would be fit enough to start the 2019/20 season with Hilal, with the Riyadh club saying before flying to Austria: “Omar Abdulrahman will continue his rehab programme at the training camp until his follow-up consultation with doctor Ramon Cugat to check the progress of his physical condition.”

The 2016 Asian Player of the Year, Abdulrahman joined Hilal last summer on a free transfer having left Al Ain following a decade in the first team, signing a one-year contract with the Saudi club. A return to Al Ain has been mooted – Abdulrahman captained the Garden City side in his final seasons there – however sources close to the player have always maintained extending his agreement with Hilal represented the most likely option.

Although Abdulrahman’s fitness remains a concern, he has been included in the UAE squad for new manager Bert van Marwijk’s first training camp with the national team, which takes place from next week, also in Austria. The nine-day camp, beginning on July 13 in Salzburg, will begin in earnest preparations for qualification for the 2022 Fifa World Cup. The draw for the second round of qualification – as a seeded side, the UAE enter then – takes place in Kuala Lumpur on July 17. Matches begin on September 5.

A member of Van Marwijk’s backroom staff had been scheduled to meet with Abdulrahman in Europe before the camp to assess his recovery. Hilal return to Saudi Arabia on July 23, before facing domestic rivals Al Ahli Jeddah in the last 16 of the Asian Champions League. The two-legged tie takes place on August 6 and 13.

Updated: July 2, 2019 09:56 AM

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