Dubai: Shabab Al Ahli Dubai’s latest recruit Leonardo da Silva Souza has vouched that things will only get better once he’s better integrated into his new team.
Known by his first name, Leonardo took a one season transfer to the Al Ghusais club from Abu Dhabi’s Al Wahda earlier this month on a season.
Known for his ability to break open defences with his versatility on either flank, Leonardo was in the thick of action using the space at his disposal to run the Shabab Al Ahli Dubai engine that saw five different people scoring in their 5-1 thrashing of Fujairah in second week action of the Arabian Gulf League (AGL), late on Friday.
Leonardo could have had his name on the scoresheet, but was denied by a last-gasp goalline clearance in the 70th minute from Fujairah skipper Fahad Sabeel. “Our ambition in every game is to continue improving. We played well last week, but this week we were better as a team. I cannot expect any miracles as I’ve been with this squad of players for only a few weeks now,” Leonardo told Gulf News.
“I was not with the squad during the preparatory camp in Europe, but I would think that things will get better for me and the team will benefit over a period of time. We’ve got to just stay patient for the time-being to give myself a chance to adjust to life here at the club,” he added.
The 27-year-old Brazilian attacking midfielder from Andira is also enjoying the free hand given to him by coach Rodolfo Arruabarrena. “My job is to keep supplying the front line and I am more than happy doing that. We have won both our games and we are among the three teams — Sharjah and Al Ain are the other two — having maximum six points,” he pointed out.
“I think I have chosen the best club. I am happy here and they are happy with me and that’s why I get the feeling I can do a good job here. In the end, football is the same anywhere in the world, perhaps only the style is different. I have one season to prove myself, and after that if they want, I will stay on here,” he added.
Defending champions Sharjah and former multiple winners Al Ain are among those at the pinnacle of the 14-team AGL standings after two rounds of action. Sharjah bagged their second win with an away 3-1 result against Kalba, after Al Ain had smothered Al Wasl 3-1 in Thursday’s late match.
“We shouldn’t be looking too far ahead. Next week is against Al Jazira and we need to be at our best to win the full points against a very strong team,” Leonardo related.
“It’s going to be a tough match, and the fans will definitely get to enjoy some good football. Our team is ready and we have the confidence to face any challenge before us,” he added.
Al Wasl 1 Al Ain 3
Kalba 1 Sharjah 3
Ajman 3 Al Nasr 1
Al Dhafrah 1 Bani Yas 1
Shabab Al Ahli Dubai 5 Fujairah 1
Khor Fakkan 1 Hatta 1
Al Wahda 3 Al Jazira 2