Dubai: Al Wahda’s new Argentinian striker Sebastian Tagliabue is hoping to deny Al Ain’s Asamoah Gyan a hat-trick of golden boots this season, setting himself the target of 35 goals.
The 28-year-old topped the Saudi Premier League’s top scorers’ charts last season with 19 goals in 25 appearances for Riyadh’s Al Shabab. He now plans to complete a GCC double, stopping Gyan’s golden run in the process.
Gyan scored 31 league goals in 22 appearances last season and 22 goals in 18 games the season before. It leaves Tagliabue, who scored on his league debut in a 3-2 win at home to Al Nasr on Saturday, needing to make up a 15-goal deficit.
“My target is 35 goals because last year the total was 31,” said Tagliabue on the sidelines of an adidas brand ambassador photo shoot in Dubai on Monday. “I scored 19 last year so I need to score much more than before.
“Becoming Saudi top scorer last season was a great experience and now I’m more relaxed. Before, every time I was trying to become top scorer and I got nervous and after I missed the target I always felt it wasn’t enough. But now it feels different. I feel more power and confidence.
“I will work hard and hope to do this but here the strikers are very good and every season it’s the same striker who tops the table. It will be very difficult but I like the challenge.
“First I will try to score as many goals as possible and after I will see if I can top the table, but I think this season the top scorer can change.”
Having joined Al Wahda on a three-year deal in June, Tagliabue is one of four new foreigners recruited under new Czech coach Karel Jarolim, along with Chilean midfielder Marco Estrada, Argentinian forward Damien Diaz and Kuwaiti defender Hussain Fadel.
Tagliabue said of his team: “We hope for the best this season. The team is very good. We have four locals in the national team and three in the U20 national team.
“We will try to do our best in all tournaments, and in January we will see what the next target is for Al Wahda.”