Sobis still a Samba boy

Rafael Sobis says his place in the Brazilian team is not in danger after his move from Spanish club Real Betis to Al Jazira.

Brazil's Rafael Sobis listens to the question of a journalist during a press conference in Abu Dhabi late September 7, 2008. Real Betis' Brazilian international Rafael Sobis has joined the United Arab Emirates-side al-Jazira in a deal worth 11 million euros (15.9 million dollars), the Spanish club said on September 5. The 23-year-old striker, who joined Real Betis in August 2006, signed with al-Jazira for five seasons, Real Betis said in a statement. AFP PHOTO/STR
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ABU DHABI // Rafael Sobis said that his place in the Brazilian national team was not in danger following his move from Spanish club Real Betis to Al Jazira. The striker, 23, moved to Jazira on the back of an Olympic bronze at the Beijing Games last month. He was one of the three foreign signings for Jazira, along with compatriots Marcio Rozario and Fernando Biano.

Sobis, making his first public appearance with his new Brazilian teammates for the Abu Dhabi club said he was on top of his game and was confident his performance in the new Pro League would not go unnoticed. Sobis said he had been asked many times about his decision to move to Abu Dhabi and the impact that could have on his future with the Brazil team. "If the national team coach Dunga wants quality players he will have to fly in to see them in action," he said.

"And if he wants to see me play, if necessary, he will travel, whether I play in Spain or the UAE. "The coach has a good idea of my abilities and I am sure he will follow the games and my progress." Dunga made a goodwill visit to Jazira in November and it would not be a great surprise if the Brazil coach decided to fly down for a game soon. Sobis added that he felt he has lost nothing from moving out of the Spanish league.

"I arrived at the decision after consulting several people," he said. "I have spoken to my colleagues and some players who had a good knowledge of this region. I had also spoken to the Jazira coach Abel Braga, with whom I have worked for two years. "It was tough for any club to get me out of Betis but Jazira succeeded. They have put a lot of faith in me and invested heavily to win the Pro League. And I want to do my best to help them achieve it. I like the set up here and I am sure I'll enjoy my stay at Jazira.

"I feel this Pro League is going to be very competitive with several high-profile signings. The region's football is growing at an alarming rate and, with competitions like the Asian Champions League and the Fifa Club World Cup, players get noticed." Sobis joined Betis from Internacional in 2006 and made his debut as a late substitute for the Samba boys against Argentina at Arsenal's Emirates Stadium the same year.

He played again for Brazil when they beat Wales 2-0. He was also chosen as the main striker in a friendly game against Portugal. Rozario and Biano were also unveiled at the same time and the latter was in action against the national team in a friendly straight after facing the media briefing. "I am very excited and looking forward to play in the UAE," said Biano. "My first impression was the warmth and friendliness of my new colleagues, the technical staff and the management. I felt I was welcome."

The Brazilian trio will have their first taste of the Pro League when Jazira face neighbours Al Wahda in the opening derby match on Sept 19.