x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

New Al Ahli signing Ricardo Quaresma 'three weeks' away from match fitness

Quique Sanches Flores admits it could be next month before their new signing is ready to feature in the Al Ahli first team.

Al Ahli midfielder Ricardo Quaresma trains at the Rashid Stadium.
Al Ahli midfielder Ricardo Quaresma trains at the Rashid Stadium.

DUBAI // Al Ahli moved early in the transfer window to secure the services of Ricardo Quaresma, but Quique Sanchez Flores's team are unlikely to reap the benefits until after the market closes at the end of the month.

Quaresma, the 29 year old former Barcelona and Inter Milan winger, was announced as having moved to the Rashid Stadium last week from Turkish side Besiktas.

However, Sanchez-Flores, the Portuguese midfielder's new coach, says his latest acquisition is short on fitness and could take up to three weeks to be fit enough to feature for the Red Knights.

"He needs to train very hard," Sanchez Flores said. "He wants to train, he wants to be at his best level, but at the moment we will have to work with him and wait a little. I think maybe in the next three weeks he will reach the performance level we are looking for, but for now he has to train."

Ahli face Ajman on Wednesday night in the Etisalat Cup, but Quaresma will not feature as Sanchez Flores looks to experiment.

"He is not ready to play. He is doing training twice a day and this is what is best for him," the Spanish coach said.

"The weight is not bad; it is more or less his ideal weight. It is more his anaerobic endurance and his feeling physically on the pitch. Once that returns, that will be the moment to put him in the team."

Rumours in recent days have suggested the high profile signing of Quaresma might be complemented with the transfer of Pablo Aimar, the attacking midfielder from Benfica.

Sanchez Flores said the Argentine is a player he knows from his days as coach at the Portuguese club, but refused to comment on the speculation.

Ahli already have an excess of foreign players and will need to sell or loan out at least one before the end of the month to meet Pro League regulations. It appears Achille Emana will depart with Al Wasl keen to sign the Cameroon midfielder. Yet as of last night, Sanchez Flores revealed the 30 year old is still with the club.

"Emana trained this morning and is still part of the team," the coach said. "The club [want to] move him and we have brought in Quaresma, but these decisions are always the board's. This club is professional and works in such a way.

"There is good communication between the sporting director, the president, Fabio Cannavaro [the technical consultant] and coaches. Every time a player comes in, its because we have talked a lot about him and we think it is for the best for the club."

 

gmeenaghan@thenational.ae

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