Miralem Pjanic has highlighted Sharjah’s determination to sign him as a major factor in why he chose to move to UAE football, saying he wants to spend “many years” at the club and help lift his new team to trophies.
The Bosnia and Herzegovina midfielder, 32, scored on debut on Friday, only two days after arriving in the Emirates to pen a two-year contract.
Pjanic, who has an option to extend his deal by one year, joined Sharjah on a free transfer having spent the past two years at Barcelona.
Speaking following Sharjah’s 3-0 victory at home to Baniyas, Pjanic said: “I chose Sharjah because they really wanted me. It was a good project.
“The coach [Cosmin Olaroiu] was also an important choice for me. He’s a coach who has a mentality to win everything. So I’m here for many years. I love this place, I love this country.”
Pjanic struck the second goal in a convincing win for Sharjah on Friday night, when he converted a penalty six minutes before half-time. Paco Alcacer, another recent signing, had opened the scoring for the hosts, with Luan Pereira adding a third moments before the interval.
Pjanic, though, was the standout having been heavily involved in the opener, while he created numerous opportunities for teammates to add to the scoreline. The former Lyon, Roma and Juventus midfielder was substituted with 12 minutes remaining.
“I’m here to give my experience also for the younger players, the local players, use my experience to let them grow,” Pjanic said. “They can count on me.
“Of course, the most important is that the team won. Of course, my first goal I’m really happy. It’s just the first days; I’m here for two, three days.
“I’m adapting to the new place, new weather… it’s not easy with this hot weather. But I’m sure it’s getting better every time.
“The next games are going to also be really important. I’m happy to be here, in this club. The club’s built to try and win the league, to win all the titles possible. And I’m here to give all my experience that I had in the last clubs that I was [in]. The players can count on me.”
With the victory, Sharjah made it two wins from two at the beginning of the 2022/23 Adnoc Pro League. The six-time UAE champions, who won the most recent of their top-flight crowns in 2019, appear well set to once again challenge at the top of the table. Last season, they finished runners-up to Al Ain.
Asked about celebrating trophies with Sharjah at the end of the campaign, Pjanic said: “That’s also my goal. As I said before, the last years I won everywhere I was. It was in Juventus, Barcelona, Besiktas [on loan]; I won a title, cups.
"So I want to continue like this. I have the mentality to always fight to win. [Baniyas] was a good game, we [worked] really fast in the first half and it has to continue like this. The season is long, it’s going to be difficult.
“There are other teams also who are going to play to win everything. But, as I said, I want to be ready; I will be ready for this season.”