New Al-Ahli signings from La Liga land in Saudi Arabia

José Manuel Jurado and Alexis Ruano have arrived in the Kingdom to play for Al-Ahli. (@ALAHLI_FCEN)
Updated 02 July 2018

New Al-Ahli signings from La Liga land in Saudi Arabia

  • José Manuel Jurado and Alexis Ruano arrive in Jeddah after signing two-year contracts
  • They will spearhead Al-Ahli's title challenge with Al-Hilal

LONDON: Al-Ahli’s new signings José Manuel Jurado and Alexis Ruano have both thanked the fans for making them feel so welcome after they touched down in Jeddah to begin their careers in the Saudi Pro League.
Jurado, the former Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid playmaker, and ex-Valencia and Sevilla defender Ruano arrived in the Kingdom on Saturday after signing two-year contracts last week.
They will meet their new teammates this week and begin pre-season training under new coach Pablo Guede as the squad prepares for the opening league game of the season against Al-Batin on Aug. 30.
Al-Ahli finished runners-up to Al-Hilal by a point last season and have made four new signings and re-signed three existing players as they seek to go one better this time round.
Jurado is the headline summer signing. He won the Europa League with Atletico Madrid, played at Real Madrid and Espanyol and has Premier League experience with Watford. This is his third stint abroad, having played in England and Russia.
“I’m at home, finally in Jeddah,” tweeted Jurado, 32. “Thanks to @ALAHLI_FCEN for the excellent welcome received.”
The signing of Ruano is more low key than that of Jurado, but the capture of the defender could be just as important. He is set to form a new-look partnership with Motaz Hawsawi at the heart of the Al-Ahli defense and he will bring with him 12 years of La Liga experience, a league where your mettle and skill as a defender is really tested.
“Thank you @ALAHLI_FCEN and thank you all for your support messages,” he tweeted.
Nouh Al-Mousa and Egypt international Abdallah El-Said have also signed for the club while Omar Al-Somah, Mohamed Al-Fateel and Hawsawi have signed new contracts.


UEFA warn clubs risk Champions League exclusion if seasons are not completed

UEFA and the European Club Association said that they were working on the possibility of playing on into July and August if need be. (AP/File)
Updated 04 April 2020

UEFA warn clubs risk Champions League exclusion if seasons are not completed

PARIS: UEFA and Europe’s top clubs have stated their determination that the current football season should be played to a conclusion and threatened that teams may be excluded from the next Champions League if their domestic competitions are ended prematurely.
In a joint letter released late on Thursday, UEFA, the European Club Association (ECA), and the European Leagues body representing nearly a thousand clubs in 29 countries, said that they were working on the possibility of playing on into July and August if need be.
The Champions League and Europa League — both of which are frozen in the last-16 stage — could be completed once the domestic seasons are finished, and “stopping competitions should really be the last resort after acknowledging that no calendar alternative would allow to conclude the season.”
The joint response came after the Belgian Pro League announced on Thursday that it recommended declaring the season over with the present table accepted as final.
It is the first European league to take such a measure, although more could follow.
That means Club Brugge would in theory go straight into the next Champions League group stage, but UEFA, the ECA and the European Leagues indicated that they may be barred from continental competition if the Belgian league decision is finalized.
“It is of paramount importance that even a disruptive event like this epidemic does not prevent our competitions from being decided on the field, in accordance with their rules and that all sporting titles are awarded on the basis of results,” the joint letter said.
“We are confident that football can restart in the months to come — with conditions that will be dictated by public authorities — and believe that any decision of abandoning domestic competitions is, at this stage, premature and not justified.
“Since participation in UEFA club competitions is determined by the sporting result achieved at the end of a full domestic competition, a premature termination would cast doubts about the fulfilment of such condition.”
The letter concluded: “UEFA reserves the right to assess the entitlement of clubs to be admitted to the 2020/21 UEFA club competitions.”
The Belgian Pro League said it had had “constructive” discussions with UEFA on Friday in which it “contested any approach which would force a league to continue in the current health crisis.”
It has called for a “varied approach” based on the specifics of individual leagues and countries.
UEFA has set up two working groups to devise a way for European football to get out of the crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic.