DUBAI // Jo has outlined plans to “make history” in the Arabian Gulf League after the Brazilian finalised his transfer from Atletico Mineiro to Al Shabab.
The former Manchester City and Brazil international striker was introduced to the media at Raffles Hotel on Tuesday night, having passed a medical and completed the formalities on a three-year deal. He will wear the No 9 shirt and replaces Edgar Bruno, his compatriot who was released last month.
Jo, a 2013 Copa Libertadores winner with Mineiro, has arrived in Dubai on the back of a difficult recent spell at the Belo Horizonte side, where he failed to score for more than year until he ended his drought in May.
“It was difficult year for me,” said the forward, who has also represented Corinthians, CSKA Moscow, Everton and Galatasaray. “Obviously no striker likes to go a full year without scoring, but thank God with help of my family I turned it around recently.
“But I come here to face a new challenge. I have aspirations to stay in the history of the league and the club, to have some very good seasons with Al Shabab and make sure my name is in the history of the football here.”
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Jo credited Shabab coach Caio Junior with playing an integral role in his decision to come to the UAE. Also a Brazilian, Junior held a meeting with Jo in his family home in Brazil, where he convinced the player that Shabab should be his next destination.
Last season, the Maktoum bin Rashid Stadium club finished third in the league table — their best performance in the professional era. They secured silverware when they clinched the GCC Clubs Championship in May and next year will contest the Asian Champions League preliminaries.
“I only have to thank Caio for what he told me, for the conversation we had,” Jo said. “He explained to me how the club works, that it’s a family, a big club with big plans for the future. I’m excited about he season we had last year and believe we can keep building on that. Caio was a big part of the reason I decided to come to Al Shabab.
“I believe this is the right decision; I have no regrets. I’m very happy and confident my time will be a success.”
Jo, 28, will form an attacking triumvirate with Carlos Villanueva and Henrique Luvannor. Azizbek Haydarov, the experienced Uzbekistan midfielder, completes Shabab’s foreign contingent for the 2015/16 season.
A former Brazil international, Jo has been capped 24 times since making his debut in 2007. He featured in Luiz Felipe Scolari’s squad for last summer’s World Cup, making three appearances, and said joining the UAE top flight does not necessarily mean his international career cannot be revived. He cited Al Ahli’s Everton Ribeiro as reason to be optimistic about a future call-up.
“Of course I want to take part in the national team,” he said. “It’s great that Everton was able to participate in the Copa America — it just shows that the league is growing, that there are many good players here, and I hope my form will bring me back to the national team.”
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