Unsettled Al Wasl star Caio Canedo 'passes the ball' to Dubai club over his future

Brazilian prefers to remain at Zabeel Stadium – if trophy-less Arabian Gulf League club match his ambition

Abdulla Al Khabari (L) of Saudi Arabia's al-Nassr Club vies for the ball against Caio Canedo (R) of the United Arab Emirtaes' Wasl Club during their AFC Champions League  football match at al-Wasl stadium in Dubai on March 04, 2019.  / AFP / STRINGER

Al Wasl captain Caio Canedo has called on the club to give him a contract he feels deserves as the forward weighs up whether to remain at the Dubai side.

Caio, 28, joined in 2014 and has gone on to lead Wasl to second- and third-placed finishes in the Arabian Gulf League, and last season to the final of both the Arabian Gulf Cup and President’s Cup. However, the club have yet to land any silverware during his time there.

Still, Caio has scored 66 goals in 111 league matches for the Zabeel Stadium side, forming a potent partnership with fellow Brazilian Fabio de Lima.

Caio caused controversy recently, though, when he suggested on social media that his time at Wasl could be coming to an end. The former Internacional striker, whose contract runs through to 2022, was this week linked with a move to current UAE champions Al Ain. Likewise, De Lima’s future continues to be subject to much speculation.

Yet, seeking to clarify his stance, Caio said he preferred to remain at Wasl – if the club match his ambition.

“There was a little bit of a situation with me: if I’m going to stay, if I’m going to go out,” he said. “But I want to be a champion. If the club is not thinking about me, I’d rather go somewhere else. I don’t want only to compete; I want to win. Which is why I put that thing on Instagram and was talking about my feelings, the whole situation about my contract.

Dubai, United Arab Emirates - November 2nd, 2017: Fabio De Lima of Al Wasl celebrates his goal during the game between Al Wasl and Al Nasr in the Arabian Gulf League. Thursday, Novemeber 2nd, 2017 at Rashid Stadium, Dubai. Chris Whiteoak / The National

“I’m 28 years old, I need a better contract. Especially for everything I am for the club: I’m the captain, I try to be an example for all the young players, I try to help the administration. Players like Fabio and me, you don’t find easily. It’s not just technique or talent, it’s character. It’s heart. You don’t buy this.

“That’s why I told the club, why I exposed my situation. We have to sit down and talk. I told them I need a better contract. I will let them talk, decide and see if we can reach an agreement that I think I deserve. If not, we’ll see something else.”

Caio said he is attracting interest from a number of clubs, including those based in the UAE and Brazil. His agent was set to arrive in Dubai this week to discuss with Wasl an improvement on the deal he signed in December 2017.

“I will always give Al Wasl priority because Al Wasl opened the doors for me in the UAE,” Caio said. “Like I said, I need to think a little about me now, about my family. What I want is a better contract, that’s all.

“They know this, they know the type of player they have, so it’s time for them to think a little about me. If you go to Brazil and try to find a player like me you’re going to pay top. You have these players here with you. So you need to give support, you need to show love, you need to give them what they deserve.

“I’m not fighting; I would never fight. I have a good relationship with the president, with [CEO] Mohammed Al Amri. We can sit down and talk like professionals. And that’s what’s going to happen. I just want them to know what kind of players they have.

“I pass the ball to the administration. They have to help me; they need to make a project for me. I’m waiting. Hopefully we can come to an agreement.”

Wasl have endured a difficult season. In October, they dismissed manager Gustavo Quinteros after six league matches and replaced him, eventually, with Romanian Laurentiu Reghecampf. The seven-time UAE champions had slipped to 12th in the table, but have rallied lately to climb to seventh.

Wasl reached the quarter-finals of the Arabian Gulf Cup and the last four of the President’s Cup, although they sit bottom of their Asian Champions League group with one match remaining. They have no chance of making the knockouts. An already-stretched squad has struggled to compete on four fronts.

“I want to fight up top,” Caio said. “In order for us to fight up top we need to bring players to help us, experienced players. I think the club is planning this.

“I’ve been here five years, but haven’t won anything as a group. Individually it has been beautiful: I score more than 30 goals each season. But I want to win. I want to put my photo there on the wall. I have ambitions, especially as a captain.

“I want to lift a trophy. I cannot do that alone. Fabio and me can’t do that alone. That’s why we need players. I want to help.”