Everton Ribeiro has insisted he turned down an offer from Manchester United in order to join Al Ahli in Dubai.
Despite interest from other clubs, Ribeiro claims he rejected other offers because of ‘the project’ at Al Ahli.
“Cruzeiro did not want me to leave, and at the same time I had offers from Monaco, AC Milan and Manchester United,” he said.
“But it was the project of Al Ahli trying to be the best club in Asia and this appealed to me.”
The cynical eye will view Ribeiro’s move to Al Ahli as money motivated and given that he was named Brazilian Player of the Year in 2013/14, plenty of more established clubs would have been interested in him.
From a career perspective, it’s a decision which means Ribeiro will be playing against players of a much lesser standard than Europe’s elite leagues and in terms of progression, it’s unlikely that he will make much out there but he decided it was the right move for him at the time.
He added: “The core of the Al Ahli project is to be a winner in Asia, and I want to be in a champion club that is having a champion project. I am committed to being part of this big plan of Al Ahli being the biggest club in Asia.
“This is a big club and I want to do well here. I have always given my best at my previous clubs and my goal here too is the same.”
As it turned out, Man United brought in Juan Mata for a then club record £37m last January so Ribeiro, an attack minded midfielder, would have been an unnecessary signing.