x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

The players who shone in the UAE Pro League this season

Yeste, Delgado, Senghor and Oliveira make Paul Oberjuerge's team of the season.

Goalkeeper: Ali Kasheif (Al Jazira)

Big, agile and durable, he was nearly unbeatable (0.83 goals-conceded per match) in the 18 games until Jazira clinched the league. Made many memorable one-on-one saves for an attack-minded side and led the league with eight clean sheets.

Right-back: Khalid Sabeel (Al Jazira)

Sturdy, fast and perhaps the hardest man playing in the UAE, the Emirati was half of his club's constant threat up the flanks and the most likely to sort out marauding midfielders.

Centre-back: Yousuf Jaber (Baniyas)

A rock in the middle for the runners-up, who conceded the fewest goals (24) in the league. Coming into his prime, at 26, he may be a candidate for a prominent role with the national team.

Centre-back: Hamdan al Kamali (Al Wahda)

Only 21, he is wise beyond his years and is already a starter for the national team. He gave Wahda strength and a significant physical presence in front of goal and was a threat in the air from set pieces.

Left-back: Abdullah Mousa (Al Jazira)

The tall, speedy and technically gifted Emirati, an attack-minded former midfielder, always came forward. A danger in the air as well as in general play. He scored four league goals for the champions.

Right midfield: Francisco Yeste (Al Wasl)

The clever Spaniard was both creator and scorer for his club, accounting for 10 league goals and setting up as many. He is 31 and may not be retained by Diego Maradona, but he brought cunning and sophistication to his side.

Centre midfield: Ibrahim Diaky (Al Jazira)

The naturalised Ivorian carried Jazira in the first half of the season, when he scored most of his 12 goals, joint-second in the league. As always, a clever distributor of the ball and director of the attack.

Centre midfield: Omar Abdulrahman (Al Ain)

The diminutive Emirati with the big hair was the speedy heartbeat of his side, scoring eight goals and creating more. Still only 19, he no doubt will be seen soon in the first XI of the national side.

Left midfield: Matias Delgado (Al Jazira)

A box-to-box player, the tireless Argentine, 28, shrugged off a one-year injury lay-off and became a hugely influential figure in the Jazira attack. He may have been the best player in the league in the second half of the season.

Striker: Andre Senghor (Baniyas)

The tall Senegalese won the Golden Boot with 18 goals, five more than anyone else in the league. Outstanding in the air, deceptively efficient on the ground, responsible for nearly half of the 38 league goals scored by the runners-up.

Striker: Ricardo Oliveira (Al Jazira)

The Brazilian played only half a season, but what a half. He had 10 league goals in 11 matches, and a blend of speed, strength and technical skill made No 99 a daunting figure at the attacking end.


Mohammed Ghuloom (Baniyas)

Walid Abbas (Al Shabab)

Juma Abdullah (Al Jazira)

Amer Abdulrahman (Baniyas)

Jociel de Ferreira (Al Shabab)

Bare (Al Jazira)

Ismail Matar (Al Wahda)