Miralem Pjanic trains with Sharjah and thanks Barcelona for 'honour of wearing the shirt'

Bosnia and Herzegovina international becomes most high-profile signing in UAE football for some time

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Miralem Pjanic was welcomed at training by his new Sharjah teammates on Wednesday night after joining on a free transfer from Barcelona - one of the most prominent deals in recent UAE football history.

The Bosnia and Herzegovina international, 32, signed a two-year contract with the six-time UAE champions, with an option to extend, and could even make his debut in the Adnoc Pro League on Friday.

A former Roma and Juventus midfielder, Pjanic moved to Barcelona from the Serie A champions in June 2020 for €60 million ($59.5m), but made only 30 appearances for the club. All of those came in his first season at Camp Nou. He spent last season on loan at Turkish side Besiktas, playing 26 times across all competitions.

Pjanic, who won four Serie A titles with Juventus, is said to have waived the remaining two years of his Barcelona contract, meaning he will not receive any financial compensation from the Spanish club.

In a post on his Instagram to Barcelona, Pjanic said: “There is no doubt that I will always carry this city, this team and the culers in my heart. When Barca called me, my wish finally came true.

“Although we were all expecting something different, I went first, it will always be an honour to have worn this shirt. Long live Barca! Today and always!”

At Sharjah, Pjanic joins another high-profile recent recruit, Paco Alcacer, as the 2018/19 UAE champions seek to improve on last year’s runner-up finish in the league.

Sharjah began the 2022/23 campaign on Saturday with a 2-0 win away to Shabab Al Ahli, with Alcacer on the scoresheet. Cosmin Olaroiu’s side next face Baniyas at home on Friday.

Updated: September 08, 2022, 11:53 AM