Dubai: Former Spain and Manchester City striker Alvaro Negredo is hoping to shrug off last season’s injury travails and help Al Nasr add to the trophy cabinet.
Negredo, who will complete a season of his two-year deal with Al Nasr next month, made 19 starts for the men in blue and scored 17 goals in an injury-plagued entry into UAE football.
However, this year has been good so far with a 25-day camp in Germany culminating with a handful of friendlies against some big teams in Europe earlier this month.
“We’ve been working hard to prepare for the season ahead. We have made some new signings and these will be good for the team. I am hoping for a strong showing this year, especially after what I went through last season due to several injury breaks,” Negredo told Gulf News on the sidelines of the re-branding ceremony of the league organising body into UAE Pro League over the weekend.
“Ultimately, success is known by the trophies won by a club and we have had nothing to show at the end of each year. That has to change this season as this is not a club that can go without a trophy for such a long time,” he added.
Negredo signed a two-year contract on September 18 with the Bur Dubai club, making his debut three days later with a 3-0 loss to Al Ain. With Negredo in and out of the squad due to injuries, Al Nasr went on to finish a distant eighth with 36 points in the Arabian Gulf League (AGL), but they did well to top a group in the Arabian Gulf Cup before losing in the semi-finals.
“The urgency is much more for trophies this year than any other time. I hope this is the season when we can win something. Personally, I need to help the team as much as I can as I have so much experience at the highest stage,” Negredo observed.
“I believe our task is simple. We need to stick together as one unit and stay on the lookout for trophies at all times this season. And for me, it will be all about the hunger for scoring goals,” he smiled. Nicknamed La Fiera de Vallecas (The beast of Vallecas), Negredo has a tank full of experience including stints at Rayo Vallecano, Real Madrid B, Almeria, Real Madrid, Sevilla, Manchester City, Valencia, Middlesbrough and Besiktas prior to joining the Dubai club. During his eight-year presence in La Liga the lanky striker, who turns 34 on Tuesday [August 20], amassed 112 goals in 264 matches.
He also earned 21 caps for Spain while scoring 10 goals between 2009 and 2013, being part of the squad that won Euro 2012.
“It is tough for anyone to see his team lose matches. All I hope for now is that there are no further injuries this season. We have a good coach [Caio Zanardi] and a fantastic set of players. We’ve got to ensure everything now comes together so that we can deliver on the trophy cabinet,” Negredo said.
“We need to take one match at a time with an eye on succeeding. But for the moment, it’s all about hard work and the success will follow,” the seasoned campaigner added.