x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Pro League: Grafite hopes 'to stay here at Ahli'

Al Ahli's top striker, Grafite, has once again stated he wants to stay with the Pro League club and that he will try to 'find a good solution' with the club soon, reports John McAuley.

Grafite wants to talk to management and work out a 'good solution' to him staying at Al Ahli.
Grafite wants to talk to management and work out a 'good solution' to him staying at Al Ahli.

DUBAI // Grafite, the Al Ahli striker, has reiterated his desire to remain at the club beyond the conclusion of his current contract.

The Brazilian has excelled since arriving in the UAE on a two-year deal from Wolfsburg, the German side, in June 2011, and in his first season scored 30 goals in 35 matches in all competitions.

He has added another 23 in 18 Pro League games this campaign, a feat that sees Grafite challenge Al Ain's Asamoah Gyan (24 goals) for the division's Golden Boot.

Grafite's agreement with Ahli is set to expire in July and, having only last week celebrated his 34th birthday, there had been speculation the Dubai club would look to replace him with a younger player.

However, having fired Ahli to the Etisalat Cup trophy last season, Grafite insists he wants to continue at the Rashid Stadium and help the club to yet more silverware.

"I hope to stay here at Ahli," he said. "I like it here, I like the atmosphere and the club, and I want to win something here, whether it's the league or the President's Cup.

"We will have a conversation with the club and again try to find a good solution."

Following Saturday's controversial draw with Al Ain, Ahli are third in the Pro League, 10 points behind the champions with six rounds left to play. The President's Cup, though, forms a more realistic opportunity of success, as Quique Sanchez Flores's side contest a semi-final, again against Al Ain, early next month.

"Although Al Jazira and Al Nasr can take points from Al Ain, and we can still fight for the league in the last six matches, it will be very difficult," Grafite said. "But we have a good chance in the President's Cup.

"We can change some motivations for the league but for now we need to think about the next game."

 

jmcauley@thenational.ae