I turned down Manchester United and Milan for Al Ahli, reveals Everton Ribeiro
DUBAI // Everton Ribeiro is confident his move to Al Ahli in the Arabian Gulf League will not hurt his chances of representing Brazil at the international level.
Ribeiro, the Player of the Season for two consecutive years in the Brazilian league, made his debut for the national team last August and has made three appearances for Dunga’s team since.
Many pundits, however, expect the 25-year-old winger’s international career to suffer following his lucrative four-deal with Ahli, but Ribeiro does not believe so.
“Football is a very global game these days so I don’t expect this [move] to be a problem,” he said yesterday, following his unveiling at the Dubai club.
“I spoke to Dunga before making a decision and he said ‘no problem’. Like I said, football is a global game and you can see any player from anywhere around the world.
“So I am not worried. My job is to just keep performing at the high level that I was performing in Brazil and keep reminding sending reminders to the coach [of the Brazil national team].
“I am coming here after a good season with my club in Brazil and my focus here will be to keep performing at a very high level, keep giving off my best. I want to be just as good here as I was in Brazil.”
Ribeiro, who has seen his stock rise since his move to Cruzeiro from Coritiba in 2013, admits he had offers from several top clubs, including Manchester United, but chose Ahli because of their “project” to emerge as one of the top clubs of Asia.
“Yes, there have been offers both in this transfer window and the last one,” Ribeiro said. “We had offers and conversations with Manchester United, Monaco and Milan. But none of those offers could meet the expectations of my club Cruzeiro.
“The only offer that everyone was happy with, it was the Ahli offer and that’s why I am here. It was the only offer that came close to our expectations.”
The club officials have refused to reveal the financial details of the transaction, but reports in Brazil said Ahli had paid €9 million for the 60 per cent of the player’s rights owned by Cruzeiro. His salary has been reported at €1.14m.
“I picked Ahli because of their project to become the top club in Asia and win the Asian Champions League,” Ribeiro said. “I have come here for the challenge. Clubs in Europe also wanted me, but this is the project that appealed the most to me.”
Ribeiro consulted with Brazilian compatriot Grafite when he received the offer from Ahli and agreed only after getting a green signal from last season’s Player of the Year. Ribeiro, however, will not be playing alongside the former Brazilian international as Grafite has moved to Qatari club Al Sadd.
“Grafite is already in Qatar and we would like to thank him for all the wonderful effort he has put through the years for the club,” Ahli’s chief executive Ahmed Khalifa Hammad said.
“He has signed a deal with Al Sadd and we wish him all the best. This is the nature of professional football, but he will always be a member of this great Ahli family.”
Grafite’s departure leaves Ahli with only one recognised striker in the team, the UAE international Ahmed Khalil. Club officials have also confirmed the departure of veteran defender Basheer Saeed to AGL leaders Al Jazira.
Hammad has not ruled out other additions to strengthen the team before the winter transfer window closes on February 12.
“At Al Ahli, the surprises keep coming,” Hammad said. “We have taken the responsibility of improving this team, recruiting players with great potential, players who have successful or are hungry for success.
“So, there are still 10 days until the end of the winter transfer window and anything can happen. Let’s wait and see.”
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Updated: February 2, 2015 04:00 AM