Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 25 November 2020

Al Wahda's Sebastian Tagliabue ready to play for the UAE

The Argentine forward has had talks with UAE FA about representing the country after becoming eligible to play for Alberto Zaccheroni's team

Al Wahda's Argentine forward Sebastian Tagliabue said it would be a 'pleasure' if he can play for the UAE. Pawan Singh / The National
Al Wahda's Argentine forward Sebastian Tagliabue said it would be a 'pleasure' if he can play for the UAE. Pawan Singh / The National

Al Wahda forward Sebastian Tagliabue has said he is ready and willing to play for the UAE.

The Argentine, 33, is eligible to play for Alberto Zaccheroni's side under Fifa's residency rule after completing five years in the country with Wahda.

He confirmed he has held talks with the UAE Football Association, but that nothing had been confirmed yet.

"I haven’t received any updates from the federation yet and I cannot speak too much,” said Tagliabue after a training session at Al Wahda's academy in Shahama on Wednesday night.

“It will be my pleasure to play for the UAE if it becomes possible. It would be an honour to play for this beautiful country."

The move to include Tagliabue in the national team comes after his Wahda teammate Yahya Al Ghassani made history by becoming the first son of a non-Emirati father to play in the Arabian Gulf League outside the quota reserved for foreigners.

The Federal National Council in April approved regulations drafted by the UAE General Sports Authority to make expats eligible from September, including foreign men married to Emirati women, to join clubs and play for the country in all sports.


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That followed a November decree from President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed.

If Tagliabue does register with the UAE, he will instantly come into contention to play for them at the Asia Cup in January, for which Zaccheroni's team are the host nation.

He is in his sixth season with Wahda and tops the domestic Arabian Gulf League scoring charts for foreign players with 111 goals. He has scored 156 goals in 173 games for his club in all competitions.

He won the league's Best Foreign Player award twice in 2016 and 2018, and five titles at the club: a President’s Cup, two AGL Cup and two AGL Super Cup titles.

Updated: September 13, 2018 08:07 PM

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