Ali Mabkhout intent on firing Al Jazira to more glory after extending stay at second home

Record-chasing striker, who last season won a third UAE championship with his boyhood club, has signed a new contract until 2026

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Ali Mabkhout says his focus is to deliver more titles for Al Jazira after the striker signed a new contract at his “second home” until 2026.

The UAE national team’s record goalscorer, who sits only four off the all-time top-flight record too, committed his long-term future to the Arabian Gulf League champions after being heavily linked this summer with a transfer to Saudi Arabia.

Jazira announced the news of the extension on Wednesday, with Mabkhout now seemingly likely to see out his career with his boyhood club. The forward, who joined Jazira’s youth ranks 17 years ago, top-scored in the Arabian Gulf League last season with 25 goals to fire the Abu Dhabi side to a third UAE championship.

“Al Jazira has always been my second home and my big football family,” Mabkhout said. “It is the club that gave me everything I could have wished for as a professional footballer.

“I want to thank everyone at the club for their continuous trust and support in me over the past years. Thanks to our esteemed leadership, the club has a clear vision and a great squad for great success in the upcoming years."

Mabkhout added: “I am very grateful to the ‘Pride of Abu Dhabi’s’ loyal fans for showing me unconditional support every single day. I am very thankful for the opportunity to play for them for many years to come. They are one of the biggest reasons I train my hardest every day to live up to their high expectations on the pitch.

“My focus now lies on working with the rest of team to build on the great achievements of last year and fight for all titles next season.”

Mabkhout, 30, was once more integral to Jazira’s title success last season as he sealed the division's Golden Boot – the second time he had won that prize. In fact, he played every minute of the league-winning campaign, while also registering the season's joint-most assists (10).

In all, Mabkhout has scored 171 goals in 234 top-flight matches, meaning he sits only four off the all-time record held by Fahad Khamis. In 289 domestic appearances for Jazira, he has 199 goals.

Chairperson and board member of Al Jazira’s sporting committee, Mohammed Saif Al Suwaidi, said: “Mabkhout is one of the symbols of Al Jazira and Emirati football. We cannot measure the sheer importance of his technical ability to our team.

“He is also one of the best players to embody Al Jazira’s values and principles in the best way possible both on and off the pitch. Therefore, it was our top priority to renew his contract during this transfer window and to keep him at his second home for years to come.

“We are all happy and proud of everything he does and will continue to do for Al Jazira and the national team. We have high hopes in his ability to achieve even greater individual and team success in the future.”

During his time at Jazira, Mabkhout has won three league titles, three President’s Cups and one League Cup. For the national team, he has scored an unrivalled 76 goals in 92 appearances, and sits currently as top scorer worldwide in 2022 World Cup qualification, with 11 goals. His five goals in four qualifiers in June helped the UAE qualify for the third and final round as Group G winners. The next phase kicks off on September 2.

Ali Youssef Al Hammadi, Jazira’s chief executive officer, said: “Ali is an influential member of the Al Jazira family. He has been proudly with us every step of the way of his distinguished career and has written his name in the history books of our club.

"There was only one decision we always had in mind when it came to his future, and that was to pen down a long-term deal. Ali is respected and loved across the country and the wider global football community, and we take great pride that he actively gives back to our local community.”

Updated: August 05, 2021, 11:37 AM