Friends reunited at Al Jazira as Fernandinho checks in
New Al Jazira winger Fernandinho has revealed the chance to link up again with Ricardo Oliveira proved too good to turn down and believes their partnership could lead to “great things”.
The 26-year-old Brazilian forward has signed a three-year contract at the Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium, where he will wear the No12 shirt previously worn by veteran centre-back Sami Rubaiya.
Fernandinho arrives in the UAE following a two-and-a-half year spell with Sao Paulo where he played with Oliveira during the former Brazil international’s loan spell in 2010.
The pair appear to have stayed in contact too, as it was on the recommendation of last season’s 40-goal striker that he made the move to the 2011 Pro League champions.
“Almost all the information (on Jazira) came from my friend Ricardo Oliveira who has played for Al Jazira for almost four years,” Fernandinho said last night.
“So Ricardo Oliveira was always in contact with me and I saw many things in the press and I know the football here is very tough, it’s not easy at all.
“Al Jazira is a great team, a big team with a lot of responsibilities and I’m completely prepared for that. I’m going to take it very seriously to put Jazira on a higher and higher level.”
And Fernandinho obviously cannot wait to get on the pitch with his good friend, who he says is determined to win more silverware while in the capital. “We played together in Brazil and I know him very well and his potential too,” Fernandinho added.
“Despite all his problems during his best years he’s always overcome these problems and become stronger. He always reaches a higher level and he believes he can do much more for Al Jazira. I am here to help him improve the level of Al Jazira.”
The pair linked up reasonably well during their time together in Brazil, with Oliveira scoring seven goals from 14 starts in the 2010/11 Brazilian Serie A campaign.
Fernandinho, named Best Newcomer in Brazil in 2009, knows the pressure will be on in the UAE capital to help return Jazira to their past glories. “I am very happy with the possibility to play for a big club in Asia, Al Jazira, a world-famous club even in Brazil,” he added.
“The experience to come to the UAE for me is a great one because I’m in a good moment in my career, and I think I can come and succeed and give something great for the team.”
Meanwhile, the Abu Dhabi club have cooled negotiations with an unnamed South Korean striker as coach Paulo Bonamigo assesses whether he needs to use the Asian slot to strengthen his defence.
Fernandinho joins Oliveira and Matias Delgado at the Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium, meaning the club are still searching for a replacement for Lucas Neill. Jazira had entered talks with the Korean hitman but the deal has now stalled as Bonamigo mulls over his options.