Dubai: Sharjah Club’s talisman Igor Coronado has called on his teammates to raise their game to be better equipped for the new season.

The 26-year-old attacking midfielder from Brazil picked up the Best Foreign Player golden ball at Friday’s season-ending Arabian Gulf League (AGL) Awards and immediately set his sights on the task at hand for next season.

“But first we need to take our time and enjoy this moment,” Coronado said after receiving the golden ball award ahead of Al Wahda’s Sebastian Tagliabue and teammate Welliton Soares. “We have all worked hard as a team and now is the time to get the rest and recover physically and mentally before the start of the new season. Among the new thing for us as UAE champions will be the AFC Champions League. That is going to be a big step for me and the team. But this is exactly what I came for here. But for now, we need to get rest and then start preparing physically and mentally to give our best one more year.”

Although born in Londrina in the Southern part of Brazil, Coronado joined the academy of English club Milton Keynes Dons at the age of 15 in 2007. He made his debut for his club as an 18-year-old against Oldham Athletic in May 2011. Following a short spell at Banbury United, Coronado spent four seasons with Floriana in the Maltese Premier League where he picked up the Best Foreign Player for 2013.

Eventually, he made a move to Italy where he made 42 appearances scoring nine goals for Serie A side Palermo. However, after one season Coronado accepted a four-year offer from Sharjah last year. “Leaving Italy was never easy,” he said. “There were so many questions asked, but I had this feeling that I was headed onto something big. Now, winning the league and having the best player award in my hand shows that I was right. In the bargain, this trophy has answered all the questions.”

The Brazilian hailed Sharjah coach Abdul Aziz Al Anbari. “He has really been great in this winning campaign, especially towards the end of the season,” he said. “I really appreciated how he dealt with difficult situations in addition to being a great manager where he dealt with all players on a same level. I don’t know what the challenge is from now on. I would rather enjoy our moment and then we need to regroup and go out with all respect for our opponents while trying to defend our league title next season. I will be around as I have another three years on my contract.”