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

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.


Ibrahimovic’s return to training with Sweden’s Hammarby sparks rumors about future

Updated 10 April 2020

Ibrahimovic’s return to training with Sweden’s Hammarby sparks rumors about future

STOCKHOLM: AC Milan striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s return to training in Sweden with Hammarby, the club he part owns, as the coronavirus pandemic continues to lockdown Italy, has fueled speculation regarding his future.

Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport reported the 38-year-old Ibrahimovic will choose against renewing his Milan deal which finishes at the end of the season.

The Swedish outfit’s president, Richard Von Yxkull, said the decision was in the hands of the attacker who played 116 times for his country before retiring from international duty in 2016.

“It’s about knowing how Zlatan sees his future and what he wants to do,” Von Yxkull told newspaper Dagens Nyheter.

Earlier in April the Spanish, Italian, French and Dutch league winner said he wanted to stay in the game after retiring.

“I want to learn something new about football, with a different angle. I will contribute from the sidelines, not on the pitch,” he told newspaper Svenska Dagbladet.

Ibrahimovic’s last Milan appearance was the loss to Genoa on March 8.

All football in Italy has been suspended due to the coronavirus which has claimed the lives of nearly 18,000 people in the country.

Measures to fight the outbreak in Sweden are lighter which have allowed Ibrahimovic to train with Stockholm’s Hammarby, a side which he bought a 25-percent share in last November.

Ibrahimovic started his career with hometown club Malmo before trophy-laden spells with some of the world’s biggest outfits including Juventus, Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain before rejoining Milan in January.