x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Saad set to start all over again

Salem Saad is hoping to put an end to his turbulent time with Al Shabab behind him as he looks forward to the new season with Al Nasr.

DUBAI // Salem Saad is hoping to put an end to his turbulent time with Al Shabab behind him as he looks forward to the new season with Al Nasr. The forward, a key figure in Shabab's 2007-08 title win, was off-loaded in the summer when his relationship with the club deteriorated. He was suspended after an altercation with teammate Carlos Renato during the AFC Champions League game at home against Sepahan in early May.

After a meeting later in the same month, the club decided to fine Saad and put him on the transfer market as his relationship with coach Toninho Cerezo was deemed "beyond repair". Saad, 31, signed a one-year deal with Nasr and said the Shabab episode was a closed chapter in his career. "Whatever happened was really disappointing, but now I have forgotten that I was at Shabab," he said. "I am a Nasr player and I am looking forward to building a strong relationship with the club and winning their trust.

"I hope to do that by performing on the field." Saad joins his former Shabab league-winning teammates Iman Mobali and Ismael Rabea at Nasr, but will face tough competition to get into the starting line-up. Nasr have a number of attacking options, including two foreign strikers: the Ecuador international Carlos Tenorio and Dutch-Moroccan Ali Boussaboun. Mohammed Malallah has also joined the team from relegated Al Khaleej.

Saad knows the competition for places will be tough, but is keen to prove his worth. "I am here to prove myself. This is a new experience for me. I hope I will be able to repay the club for the trust they have shown in me," he said. "We have lots of competitions this year and we hope we can win one, two, or whatever." arizvi@thenational.ae