x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Walid Abbas to stay at Shabab

Left-back signs three-year deal with Dubai club to quell any speculation about a move to city rivals Al Ahli.

Walid Abbas, in green, joined Al Shabab at the age of nine and will stay at the Dubai club. Mike Young / The National
Walid Abbas, in green, joined Al Shabab at the age of nine and will stay at the Dubai club. Mike Young / The National

DUBAI // Walid Abbas put an end to speculation over his future at Al Shabab by signing a three-year extension that will keep him at the club until 2016.

Abbas, who has one year left on his current deal, had been linked with a move to rivals Al Ahli. Some media reports claimed that Ahli, the Etisalat Cup champions, had convinced the left-back to switch sides.

As the rumours grew stronger, Abdullah Saeed Al Naboodah, the chairman of Ahli, was forced to issue a denial and Abbas, who has been at Shabab since the age of nine, finally put an end to them by signing a new deal within hours of returning from his vacation. Saeed Al Marri, the chief executive of Shabab, said the negotiations did not take any time since both parties were keen to keep "this strong association going".

"We are delighted to confirm this deal as it ensures stability in the side," Al Marri said.

"Walid Abbas had already expressed his desire to continue with the club and as soon as he returned from his vacation, there were positive movements from both sides and it ended with the extension of his contract."

Al Marri denied the club were forced to give Abbas an extension because of the recent rumours over his departure, saying "we do not manage our footballing affairs on the basis of rumours, but from a professional perspective with an eye on the needs of the team".

"At Al Shabab, stability has always been a major part of our philosophy and that extends to the renewal of contracts with our players," he said. "We had met with the player at the end of last season and told him officially that we wanted to extend his contract with the club.

"So we had already started the process before all these rumours started circulating in the media and online forums."

Shabab have kept most of their players from last season, except Olympic team defender Mohammed Ahmed, who has moved to Al Ain, and striker Suroor Salem, who has signed with Emirates. The club have also renewed their deals with Brazilian striker Ciel and Uzbek midfielder Azizbek Haydarov after the end of last season.

Haydarov, who missed a number of matches towards the end of the season because of an abdominal injury, had surgery at a private hospital in Paris on Thursday to address the problem. He is expected to start training after a month.

arizvi@thenational.ae

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