Jucilei da Silva, a Brazilian midfielder signed from Anzhi Makhachkala, will be one of a few changes Abu Dhabi club are making to their squad, writes Amith Passela.
Ricardo Oliveira among ageing players set to leave Al Jazira
ABU DHABI // Al Jazira are halfway to an overhaul of their foreign contingent, with two prominent South Americans who have been playing in Russia expected to replace the veteran Ricardo Oliveira and the newcomer Nelson Valdez.
Jucilei da Silva, a Brazilian midfielder, who signed from the Russia club Anzhi Makhachkala, joined the team yesterday, taking Oliveira’s place in the side.
The Ecuador international forward Felipe Caicedo is expected to join from Lokomotiv Moscow in the coming days, displacing Valdez. In the process, Jazira get significantly younger; Da Silva and Caicedo each are 25; the forwards Oliveira and Valdez are 33 and 30, respectively.
Da Silva said he had no doubts about joining the Abu Dhabi club, who are third in the Arabian Gulf League.
“Jazira are well known in Brazil,” he said. “I made a few inquiries from those coaches and players who had been working in the Emirates when the offer was made. It was an easy decision,” he said, according to the club’s website.
“It goes without saying that the club will have high expectations from me and I will do my best to deliver in the domestic competitions as well as in the continental championship.
“I have the same hopes and ambitions as the club and their fans. I want to spend as much time as possible at Jazira and make use of all my three years of experience playing in Europe to help the club achieve their objectives.”
Ali Al Nuaimi, a club spokesman, would confirm only that Da Silva has joined Jazira.
He said: “We have announced his signing for the news to be official but all other details will be revealed at a press conference with the player shortly.”
Abdelaziz Barrada, the France-born Moroccan international, is the club’s in-form expatriate, and Jazira’s Asian player is Shin Hyung-min, the Korean centre-back. Da Silva is expected to make his first appearance for his new club against Al Wasl at the Zabeel Stadium in Dubai on Saturday.
Valdez is banned from the match after accruing three yellow cards.
Jazira have risen to third in the league under new coach Walter Zenga, on 26 points, six behind the leaders Al Ahli and one behind Al Shabab.
They were knocked out of the President’s Cup and are not in contention in the League Cup.
However, Jazira will be pushing for an Asian Champions League medallion. They are drawn in Group A with Esteghlal of Iran, Al Shabab of Saudi Arabia, and Al Rayyan of Qatar.
According to the club website, negotiations for Da Silva had been intense, with the Italian top-flight clubs Napoli, AC Milan, Juventus, and the Premier League club Fulham, chasing the Brazilian’s signature.