Saudi Arabia giants Al-Ahli sign former Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid star

Jose Manuel Jurado is welcomed to the club by an Al-Ahli official. (@ALAHLI_FCEN)
Updated 26 June 2018
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Saudi Arabia giants Al-Ahli sign former Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid star

  • Jose Manuel Jurado joins on a two-year deal
  • Two more sign for last season's runners-up

LONDON: Al-Ahli have signalled their intention to wrestle the Saudi Pro League title away from Al-Hilal by making three further signings, including a former Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid playmaker.
The Jeddah giants agonizingly finished second to Al-Hilal by a solitary point on the final day of last season, meaning Al-Hilal have now won the domestic title for the past two seasons and a record 15 times in total.
Al-Ahli last won the crown in 2016 and they have been very proactive and aggressive in the transfer market in a bid to bring it back to King Abdullah Sports City.
They launched their mini transfer spree by recruiting José Manuel Jurado on a two-year deal. The Spaniard started his career at Real Madrid, moved to Atletico Madrid where he won the Europa League and has enjoyed spells in Russia and England. The 31-year-old has played for Quique Sanchez Flores, who was contacted about the Al-Hilal job, three times in his career, most recently at Espanyol. He is capable of playing on either flank but is most effective in the No. 10 role. He could prove a very useful foil for Omar Al-Soma, who has been the league’s top-scorer in three of the past four seasons.
Another recruit from Spain is Alexis Ruano Delgado. The 32-year-old has also signed a two-year contract. He is a veteran of La Liga having played for Valencia, Sevilla, Getafe, Malaga and Alaves, with Valencia once paying €6 million ($7 million) for him. His career peaked when he scored one of the goals in Valencia’s 2008 Copa Del Rey final win. Delgado is set to form a new-look partnership with Motaz Hawsawi at the heart of the Al-Ahli defense.
The third signing player to join is Nouh Al-Mousa. The holding midfielder moves from Al-Fateh has signed a contract until 2022. He will dovetail in the middle of the park with fellow new recruit Abdallah El-Said who has joined from Egypt giants Al-Ahly on a two-year contract. However, Al-Ahli will be concerned that El-Said came off injured against Saudi Arabia in the World Cup game and new coach Pablo Guede will be eager to find out the severity of the problem.
As well as making four new signings, Al-Ahli have also moved swiftly to tie Al-Somah, Mohamed Al-Fateel and Hawsawi to new deals. One issue they will need to be mindful of is that the captures of Jurado and Delgado mean they now have the maximum number of seven foreign players on their books. Any further foreign recruits will mean cutting loose one of Mark Milligan, Al-Somah, Giannis Fetfatzidis, Claudemir and Leonardo.


Saudi Arabia leave it late to salvage draw with Iraq in Riyadh

Updated 15 October 2018
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Saudi Arabia leave it late to salvage draw with Iraq in Riyadh

  • Abdulaziz Al-Bishi scored in the 94th minute
  • Pizzi rang the changes in the second half, making six subsitutions in total

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia left it late to salvage a draw in their match against Iraq on Monday night, with Abdulaziz Al-Bishi scoring in the 94th minute.
The fixture at the King Saud University Stadium pitted Juan Antonio Pizzi’s Green Falcons against an Asian Cup rival in Iraq, galvanized by the arrival of Slovenian coach Srencko Katanec.
The first half was a cagey affair, with both sides canceling each other out, and Musthafa Nadhim receiving a yellow card just before halftime.
Pizzi rang the changes in the second half, making six subsitutions in total, three coming after Iraq’s opener. Muhannad Ali put the visitors in front with twenty minutes remaining.
Saudi Arabia kept pressing, and were rewarded in the dying minutes when Al-Bishi scored with almost the last kick of the game.