Sebastian Tagliabue disappointed after 'seven amazing years' with Al Wahda come to an end

Argentine-born striker, 13 goals from the all-time record in the UAE top flight, hopes to find new club soon after his contract ends

Sebastian Tagliabue says he is disappointed to end “seven amazing years” with Al Wahda, with his priority now to find a new club in the UAE.

The Argentine-born striker, 35, has been told by Wahda that they will not be renewing his contract beyond its June 30 conclusion despite discussions regarding that earlier this season.

Having joined Wahda in 2013, Tagliabue has gone on to score 152 goals in 157 league appearances for the Abu Dhabi side. At present, he is 13 goals from the all-time record in the UAE top flight. The 2019/20 Arabian Gulf League is currently shut down because of the coronavirus.

Tagliabue, who lies second in this season’s charts with 15 goals in 19 matches, said he had expected to remain at Wahda following talks some time ago about an extension.

“Of course, I’m very sad, and my family’s very sad, because we have to move from Al Wahda,” Tagliabue said. “It’s my second home in football and also my family is very happy here.

“We’ve had seven amazing years. I feel Al Wahda is my family. It was a shock in the beginning when the club told me they didn’t want to give me a new contract, because I didn’t expect that. I thought we’d reach an agreement.

“For sure, I understand that one day I will leave, that I will not always be at Al Wahda. And I always said when the contract finishes we have to sit with the club to see if they want me and if I want to stay at the club. This is normal.

“I’m upset only in the way they handled my exit. For me, it’s not about money or other big things. A few days ago they told me to find a new club because they cannot pay me the offer they made me two or three months ago.

“So now I start to look for another club. But I don’t like what some people are starting to say ‘He wants too much money for his age’. It’s not about my age; it’s about what I deserve, or what I did on the pitch.”

Tagliabue, who was seeking a two-year extension with Wahda, will now begin to plot his next move. The forward has been approached tentatively by a number of clubs in the Arabian Gulf League, although as of now there has been no official offer.

He also refused to rule out a transfer outside the Emirates, but only for an attractive project.

“For my family and for my social life I would prefer to stay in Abu Dhabi, but there are a lot of good clubs in the UAE,” said Tagliabue, who in January was granted UAE citizenship. “If we had to move to any club in the UAE it would be OK.

“I hope by the end of this season to have a new team. If in the next two weeks it would be amazing, because my contract with Al Wahda finishes at the end of June, so I’d like to have a club as soon as possible. We will see.”

Asked about his connection to Wahda, Tagliabue said he would not even rule out a return one day, saying: “From my side, I will never close the door to Al Wahda. Even if I have to leave now, I will say ‘See you soon’. Because maybe in the future I come back to the club, as a player or maybe as a coach. For Al Wahda, I will always open my door.”

Updated: May 5, 2020 10:21 AM

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