x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Friends reunited at Nasr

Ali Boussaboun is to link-up with old pal Anouar Diba and the Dubai club will benefit from the telepathic understanding between two compatriots.

Ali Boussaboun, right, in action for Feyenoord, has joined Al Nasr and will form an exciting partnership with Anouar Diba next season.
Ali Boussaboun, right, in action for Feyenoord, has joined Al Nasr and will form an exciting partnership with Anouar Diba next season.

Ali Boussaboun, Al Nasr's fourth foreign signing for next season, had several offers to remain in Europe, but a lucrative offer and the chance to link-up with his good friend, Anouar Diba, was too good to turn down. The Dutch-Moroccan striker, 30, signed a one-year deal with Nasr last week, turning down offers from clubs in Holland, Greece, Turkey and Cyprus.

A few might question his decision to prefer UAE's nascent Pro League over European football, but Boussaboun insists he had several good reasons to move to the Dubai club Nasr from Dutch club FC Utrecht. "I have been in this area before," said the former Feyenoord striker, who spent a season with Al Wakra in Qatar. "I like the life there, it was good. The offer from Al Nasr was also good and the club are very professional as well.

"I could have gone to another club. I had offers from Greece, Cyprus and Turkey. But you have to look at the clubs, who are better and which offer is better, where can you be happier and where you can achieve something. I thought about these things and I decided that Al Nasr was the best option for me." Boussaboun also does not believe the quality of football in the UAE is inferior to the leagues he could have joined.

"I don't think if you are playing in Cyprus, you are going to be playing in a better league than UAE," he said. "Cyprus is not like the English Premier League or something. I know people who play in Cyprus and they were not so happy there. "The thing is they are bringing good foreign players here to pull up the level. "So it is our job to do that and help the other players with our experience, to make them better players and help them reach a higher level."

Indeed, Boussaboun believes the presence of Diba, his Dutch-Moroccan compatriot, will help raise the bar. Boussaboun played alongside Diba for NAC Breda in Holland and Al Wakra, and said: "I also picked Al Nasr because Anouar Diba plays here and he is a very good friend of mine. "To play together again is something that we have always talked about. "I have played with him for a long time. Three years in Holland and one season in Qatar. We are very, very good friends.

"He is such a big player. Me and him on the pitch, we find each other without looking. So that is a big plus for me. "When I run, he knows where to give the ball. "It is very important to have a player who has those qualities, someone who can see the moment and has good technique to give the ball. Diba is such a player." arizvi@thenational.ae