x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Put money where the talent is

The AC Milan midfielder Clarence Seedorf says ageing players like himself will add no value to game in UAE.

AC Milan's Clarence Seedorf feels the Pro League needs to buy more young players.
AC Milan's Clarence Seedorf feels the Pro League needs to buy more young players.

Clarence Seedorf is from the school that you have to work hard for every dirham, euro or pound. So he firmly believes the UAE should stop becoming a cash cow for football's ageing heroes. Aged 35 when his Milan contract ends in 2011, the Holland international's name would generally be linked with a move to the Emirates, Qatar or Saudi Arabia if he was to become available. One last payday before he rides off into the sunset.

Seedorf does not want that, though, as he says: "I don't think I will bring added value. I have been coming here for a couple of years now and been talking to a lot of people about the game in the Emirates. My advice constantly is they have to stop buying players at the end of their careers. "They don't need to do that. This market has money, everyone knows that. In the US, they have salary cap, but here they do the opposite and pay higher wages.

"You have to find players in Europe who are talented and younger. There are thousands of players in Europe without a club. Go and find those who are motivated and pay them through results. "To improve the level, you need players who are committed, otherwise people will come here for the money and no motivation. You have to work for your money." Change is something Seedorf has also welcomed at Milan, with the loan arrival of David Beckham set to supplement an already impressive midfield containing Kaka and himself. "Every time a new player comes there is excitement and enthusiasm. It makes me more excited because I am happy to be playing with such champions.

"Beckham hasn't lost his talent by going to America. He is motivated and that's why he came here. Expectations will be sky high, but we will help him out to become a good member of the team." Whether Beckham can help Milan overhaul Inter Milan at the top of Serie A remains to be seen. "Inter are the team to beat," he says. "They are the strongest team in Italy and maybe Europe too. It's fun to compete until the end or it's no fun anymore. We want to be back in the Champions League next season for sure.

"That's not good enough for a club like this; it should not happen. We didn't deserve it last season and to be in the Uefa Cup for one year like Bayern Munich is not a scandal." Another failure though and the top names could leave. Seedorf admits "an intelligent person would consider any offer", while Kaka is coveted by all. "Kaka? It is like when you walk into a market place and all the women look at you and you are with your wife," he adds. "Either she is jealous or she is happy and says, 'I have a very nice husband'. Kaka is a great professional and he will do what he has to do."

The pair are working together in Dubai in preparation for the Dubai Football Challenge, backed by Emirates Airline and Dubai Tourism, on Jan 6 at The Sevens stadium. Tickets are available from Timeoutickets.com or 800-4669. akhan@thenational.ae