Moroccan World Cup star Nordin Amrabat to play in Saudi Pro League

Nordin Amrabat has signed a three-year contract with Al-Nassr. (AFP)
Updated 19 July 2018
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Moroccan World Cup star Nordin Amrabat to play in Saudi Pro League

  • Moroccan winger agrees to join Al-Nassr
  • Amrabat used to wash dishes and make desserts for a living

LONDON: Al-Nassr have signalled their intent to mount a challenge to the top two by boldly signing Nordin Amrabat from Premier League club Watford.
The 31-year-old winger has penned a three-year contract with the Riyadh club who finished third last season, 11 points behind Al-Ahli and 12 behind title winners Al-Hilal.
Reports say Al-Nassr have paid Watford £4 million ($5.2 million) for Amrabat, 31, who has spent the last season on loan at Leganes where his new Al-Nassr teammate Yahya Al-Shehri also played last season on loan.
“Happy and excited with my adventure,” Amrabat wrote on Instagram. “Looking forward to meet these amazing @alnassr_fc fans.”


Amrabat arrives with a fine pedigree, having played for PSV, Galatasaray, Malaga and Watford. He predominately plays on the right wing but he prefers playing on the left so he can cut inside on his favored right foot and have a crack at goal.
He is currently taking an extended holiday following his World Cup exploits with Morocco, but when he joins up he will find a familiar face in the dressing room in countryman Mohamed Fouzair and should form an exciting attacking partnership with Al-Shehri and Mohammad Al-Sahlawi.
Amrabat was in many experts’ team of the tournament after the World Cup group phase, his all-action performances against Iran, Spain and Portugal catching the eye and putting him in the shop window. He was always going to be surplus to requirements at Watford after they signed Spain international winger Gerard Deulofeu, and Trabzonspor were thought to be leading the race for his signature. But Al-Nassr have won the race to land him and he becomes the second ex-Watford player to have agreed to move to the Saudi Pro League, following on from Jose Manuel Jurado’s move to Al-Ahli earlier this summer.
Amrabat has enjoyed a fine career, playing nearly 300 top-flight appearances but he came from very humble beginnings and needed to wash plates and make desserts at a Michelin-starred restaurant before his career took off.


Man City completes sweep of English trophies with FA Cup win

Updated 18 May 2019
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Man City completes sweep of English trophies with FA Cup win

  • Now City is the undisputed power of English football — a status it claimed from neighbor Manchester United

LONDON: Raheem Sterling scored a hat trick as Manchester City completed the first sweep of English men’s football trophies by routing Watford 6-0 in the FA Cup final on Saturday.
The fourth piece of silverware was sealed with four different scorers at Wembley Stadium, with David Silva, Kevin De Bruyne and Gabriel Jesus also netting in the humiliation of Watford.
Victory for Pep Guardiola’s side came a week after the Premier League trophy was retained to join the League Cup and Community Shield already in City’s possession.
“What a season,” City captain Vincent Kompany said. “What a tremendous club.”
But the unprecedented achievement by football’s costliest squad comes against the backdrop of investigations into City’s compliance into football’s spending rules that could lead to the Abu Dhabi-owned team being banned from the Champions League.
More than $1 billion has been spent on transfer fees alone since 2008 when Sheikh Mansour bought a team that was more accustomed to playing in lower leagues than lifting trophies.
It wasn’t until 2011 that City ended a 35-year trophy drought by winning the FA Cup.
Now City is the undisputed power of English football — a status it claimed from neighbor Manchester United.
Watford was contesting its first cup final in 35 years and never had a look in after Roberto Pereyra was denied the chance to snatch a shock lead in the 11th minute by goalkeeper Ederson.
The City players were celebrating in front of the Watford fans in the 26th.
After Abdoulaye Doucoure gave the ball away, City broke forward and Sterling headed through for David Silva to strike into the net.
City’s other Silva — Bernardo — was the provider of the second in the 38th, chipping to the far post where Gabriel Jesus diverted the ball into an empty net. Sterling ensured it crossed the line and was credited with the goal.
The onslaught came in the second half with De Bruyne exerting his influence after coming off the bench.
The Belgian netted in the 61st, receiving the ball from Gabriel Jesus, who had combined with Sterling.
Gabriel Jesus found the net seven minutes later after being released by De Bruyne’s throughball, sliding past Heurelho Gomes after the goalkeeper came off his line.
Then the record-equaling final victory margin came from a double inside six minutes from Sterling, who grew up near Wembley and has a tattoo of the stadium’s arch.
The Football Writers’ Association player of the year tapped in after latching onto Bernardo Silva’s cross in the 81st, and met the rebound after Gomes pushed his initial shot onto the post.
“It just shows what the manager’s building here,” Sterling said. “At the start of the season he said, ‘Let’s try and get the mentality right and go for the Premier League again,’ and we’ve done that again, exceptionally well.
“It’s a credit to all the boys, being mentally switched on throughout the season which has been long with the World Cup as well. Everyone’s been focused and on their A game the whole way through.”