Grafite wants a clear message on his future from Al Ahli

Striker has his family settled in Dubai and does not want ‘to leave with a bad memory’ but asks club management to clarify even as he sounds out his agent.
Grafite, centre, with four goals from 13 games, blames a changed formation for his poor return at Al Ahli. Satish Kumar / The National
Grafite, centre, with four goals from 13 games, blames a changed formation for his poor return at Al Ahli. Satish Kumar / The National

Al Ahli are prepared to replace Grafite during the transfer window next month if they can find a suitable replacement for the 35-year-old Brazilian striker, according to a club official.

Al Ittihad, sister newspaper of The National, cited an Ahli source who confirmed rumours Grafite, who of late has not been in the side’s first XI, could be on his way out.

The Bundesliga player of the year in 2008/09 with Wolfsburg, said he hoped to stay on with the club for which he has scored 63 goals in 79 Arabian Gulf League ­matches. He was named “international player of the year” in the UAE after the 2012/13 season. “I’ve heard that I might be on my way out of Al Ahli,” Grafite said.

“This is why I met with the sports director Roy Aitken two days ago and asked him to be clear regarding my position, and to deal with me professionally and officially notify me whether I would be staying with the club until my contract’s term or whether I would be terminated, as reported in the media, which I don’t understand. I have a good, strong relationship with the club.”

Graffiti said he called on his agent to look into his options but concedes he first needs to know Ahli’s intentions.

“I refuse to end my relationship with Al Ahli, who I love and respect, in this tragic manner,” he said. “I don’t want my contract terminated nor do I want to leave with a bad memory.

“I see myself as part of this entity and one of its leading players. I continue to be committed to it and I hope to reach retirement while I’m still here.

“This is why I wanted to make my position clear early on. I have a family, my daughters are in school here in Dubai. I moved my family to the UAE and having to make a decision about leaving at this time won’t be easy.”

Grafite scored 59 goals in his first three seasons in the AGL, but this season he has four in 13 matches as holders Ahli find themselves sixth in the league table. “I am ready,” he said.

“I’m not injured, as some are saying. I was injured at the start of season, but I’ve completely healed and returned to training. I am giving it my all.”

He said he respects coach Cosmin Olaroiu and the technical and administrative team.

“But the coach is excluding me from the formation,” he said. “Nonetheless, I am determined to continue to fight hard to return to Al Ahli’s formation should I stay with the club until the end of the season.

“I will surely be sad if I were to leave this way. I’ve given a lot to Al Ahli and I was one of the star players during the last three ­seasons.

“I didn’t choose to be out of the formation. I did my job. I am capable of scoring again if I were to return to the ­formation.”

sports@thenational.ae

Follow us on Twitter at SprtNationalUAE

Published: December 22, 2014 04:00 AM

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