Barrada fits the bill for new-look Al Jazira
Abdelaziz Barrada’s pedigree, age and hunger made him the ideal candidate to replace Matias Delgado as Al Jazira’s creative force next season, according to a club spokesman.
The Morocco international completed his move from Spanish club Getafe on Saturday, for a fee reported to be in the region of €10million (Dh47.1m).
If that figure is correct, it would make Barrada the joint-second most expensive player in UAE football history behind new team-mate Ricardo Oliveira – who cost €14m in 2009, which at that time equated to Dh72.5m – and level with Rafael Sobis, who Jazira also paid €10m for the year before.
At just 24, the former Getafe midfielder fits with the club’s – and indeed the league’s – move to buy young talent heading into their prime rather than ageing players whose careers are winding down.
“Because he is still a young player and he has ambition,” Jazira spokesman Ali Al Nuaimi replied when asked why the Abu Dhabi club had plumped for Barrada.
“It is a good thing heading into the sixth year of the professional league in the UAE that you begin to sign with the big stars, with a good average age.”
Barrada heads to Abu Dhabi following two impressive seasons in Spain, that saw him play 64 times in La Liga and score eight goals. The French-born playmaker also played three times for Morocco at last summer’s Olympic Games and has won 15 caps for the senior side.
Barrada scored on his last international appearance as he helped Morocco to a 2-0 World Cup qualifying win against Gambia in June.
The scorer of the second goal for the Lions of Atlas that day was coincidentally former Jazira target Younes Belhanda. Barrada’s form over the past 24 months had alerted a number of Europe’s top clubs, as well as Qatari side Al Rayyan, to his talents but Getafe were determined to sell only for the right price.
Al Nuaimi added: “Al Jazira’s deal was the best deal for Getafe. Also, there were some clubs in the region looking to sign with the player but the player preferred to play with Jazira rather than those other clubs.”
TOP FIVE UAE FOOTBALL TRANSFERS
Al Jazira have now paid the three highest transfer fees in UAE football history. The previous two both went to Real Betis while all three players have been bought from Spain.
1. Ricardo Oliveira (Betis to Jazira, 2009) €14m
2. Rafael Sobis (Betis to Jazira, 2008) €10m
= Abdelaziz Barrada (Getafe to Jazira, 2013) €10m
4. Jorge Valdivia (Palmeiras to Al Ain, 2008) €8m
= Ismael Bangoura (Stade Rennes to Nasr, 2010) €8m