Al-Hilal announce signing of UAE star Omar Abdulrahman

Omar Abdulrahman signs on the dotted line for Al-Hilal. (Courtesy Al-Hilal)
Updated 08 August 2018
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Al-Hilal announce signing of UAE star Omar Abdulrahman

  • It took time, determination and money for the Riyadh giants to get the 26-year-old playmaker on a one-year loan from Al-Ain
  • Abdulrahman, the AFC Player of the Year in 2016, has been the hottest property in West Asian football since he burst on to the scene at the 2012 Olympics

RIYADH: Saudi Arabian giants Al-Hilal have finally captured the signing of United Arab Emirates star Omar Abdulrahman.
It took time, determination and money for the Riyadh giants to get the 26-year-old playmaker on a one-year loan from Al-Ain. The hundreds of fans who waited at the capital’s airport in the early hours of Wednesday morning for his arrival were in no doubt that “The Boss” have signed a big star and an even bigger talent.
Abdulrahman, the AFC Player of the Year in 2016, has been the hottest property in West Asian football since he burst on to the scene at the 2012 Olympics. Born in Riyadh before moving to the UAE, “Amoory” has been linked with a move to European giants such as Juventus, Manchester City and Barcelona.
His first overseas move however is to his hometown club that he supported as a boy. That did not, however, stop the transfer being protracted, complex and expensive.
Al-Hilal will have to pay around €15 million ($17 million) to Al-Ain and the player for just 12 months of his services, making the deal the second most expensive loan in the history of football after the €18 million it cost AC Milan to preside Juventus to loan them Gonzalo Higuain in July.
The addition of Abdulrahman comes less than a month after the Riyadh giants, now led by new president Sami Al-Jaber and new coach Jorge Jesus from Portugal, signed Peruvian winger Andre Carrillo, who scored for the South Americans at this summer’s World Cup.
It also marks a victory for Al-Hilal over Al-Nassr. The other Riyadh giants, who finished in third last season, have been especially busy in the transfer window and made a late bid to try and hijack Al-Hilal’s deal for the UAE star, offering more money.


A HAT-TRICK OF HOPES: What the UAE and Saudi Arabia should be looking for from their friendly

Updated 20 March 2019
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A HAT-TRICK OF HOPES: What the UAE and Saudi Arabia should be looking for from their friendly

  • Can the Whites and Green Falcons find the back of the net more often?
  • Both teams need to set the tone ahead of the important World Cup qualifiers.

LONDON: Ahead of Thursday’s friendly between the UAE and Saudi Arabia Arab News looks at the main priorities for both sides as they embark on their new eras after the Asian Cup and ahead of the all-important the World Cup qualifiers.

FIND THOSE SCORING BOOTS

For the past 18 months both sides have struggled for goals. Under Alberto Zaccheroni the UAE scored just 10 goals in the past nine matches — five of those coming against lowly Kyrgyzstan and India — and likewise the Green Falcons have also struggled to find the back of the net. Heading toward the World Cup qualifiers, now is the time to find those scoring boots.

PUT ON A SHOW

Both sides have technically gifted players, can keep the ball and at times trouble opposition defenses. But both have been too defensive, too safety-first and, at times, too dull. Football is supposed to be entertainment, and the friendlies ahead of the World Cup qualifiers might be no bad time to throw caution to the wind and see what the players can do in the final third.

SET THE TONE

As the modern cliche goes, a week is a long time in football. With all the sackings and player movements, it is not hard to see the kernel of truth in that overused saying. But, conversely, time can also move very fast in the “Beautiful Game.” It may be six months before the World Cup qualifiers begin, but it will be September before the coaches and players know it. Set the tone and tactics now and triumphs will be easier to come by then and, more importantly, further into the future.