x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Luca Toni set for Al Nasr axe

2006 World Cup winner has struggled to make an impact since joining in January, and could be sacked along with Bader Yaqoot and Ali Abbas.

Luca Toni at the press conference announcing his move to Al Nasr
Luca Toni at the press conference announcing his move to Al Nasr

DUBAI// The 2006 World Cup winner Luca Toni looks unlikely to retain his place in the Al Nasr squad for next season.

Toni, who arrived amid much fanfare at the club in January, scored on his debut in a 2-1 win for Nasr at Ajman in the 13th round of the Pro League, but struggled to make an impact thereafter. In the 10 league and Etisalat Cup matches he played, the 35-year-old managed to find the net five times.

The Italian missed almost a month of Nasr's campaign due to an elbow injury and, though he has a contract till the end of December, club sources claim he will be released.

"The technical committee, following consultations with the coach Walter Zenga, has decided Toni will not continue with the Nasr team next season," the source said. "An official announcement about Toni and the other foreign players will be made in the coming days."

Nasr are also likely to release defender Bader Yaqoot and mid-fielder Ali Abbas to make place for new players to strengthen the squad. A move for defender Ali Salem Al Ameri, however, has been rejected by Al Jazira.

Al Ameri, who arrived at Nasr in January on loan, did an impressive job in defence as the team finished the league in second and Zenga was keen to get the player on a transfer move. However, after the departure of Australian defender Lucas Neill, Jazira want their man back for the next season.

Nasr, meanwhile, have selected Italy for their preseason camp, which will begin after the Eid Al Fitr holidays in August. The team will, however, reassemble in the first week of July for their medicals at home before travelling to Qatar for a short camp ahead of the holy month of Ramadan, which is expected to start on July 20.

They have picked Qatar because of it's proximity to the UAE and the availability of air-conditioned stadiums at the Aspire Academy in Doha. During Ramadan, the team will train at home before leaving for Italy.

twitter Follow us @SprtNationalUAE