Al Sadd rope in Atlético Madrid’s Gabi
Doha: Atletico Madrid captain Gabriel Fernandez has signed a two-year deal with Qatar giants Al Sadd. He will partner the legendary Xavi Hernandez at the club when the new season begins.
The 34-year-old Spaniard, who midfielder arrived in Doha on Monday, can extend the contract to a third season provided both parties agree to renewing the deal. Fernandez was received at the Hamad International Airport by Al Sadd officials Turki al-Ali, general manager of the club, Mohamed Ghulam al-Balooshi, sports director of the club, and Ahmed al-Ansari, media officer. Fernandez said he was thrilled to feature for Al Sadd in the new QNB Stars League season that kicks off in August.
“It is a new challenge for me. I have decided to play in Qatar especially after many years of playing in the Spanish league,” Fernandez said.
“I am trying to play this game with all strength and great motivation,” he added. “This is a new experience for me to play in a new club,” he said.
“I have seen many places in Doha and I have seen the preparations (Qatar is making) for hosting the 2022 FIFA World Cup, including the Khalifa International Stadium, which is a great football venue. I am quite sure of the success of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar,” he told the club website.
The Spanish star said that he plans to employ all his experience to support Qatar and Qatari football.
He said: “I will try very hard to consolidate the concept of European thought in Qatar and try to help Qatari players to develop during this period.”
He added: “My goal with Al Sadd will be to compete and win titles. The AFC Champions League quarter-finals will be our first stop.”
Fernandez, known as Gabi, began his career at Atletico Madrid before moving to Getafe and Real Zaragoza. He returned to the Spanish capital in 2011 helping the side win the La Liga, the King’s Cup and the European Champions League twice and reaching the Champions League final on two occasions.