SHARJAH: Brazilian striker and Al Ahli captain Grafite has extended his contract by one more year with the club.
The 34-year-old is currently Al Ahli’s highest scorer in 2012-2013, and sits second in the Etisalat Pro League’s scoring charts with 24 goals so far this season, continuing to prove his worth to the team.
After signing the extension, Grafite said: “I rejected several offers to return to Brazil, preferring to stay here with Al Ahli because I have adapted very well here and I am looking forward to the challenges of achieving titles with Al Ahli, particularly as we have a good chance of competing in the AFC Champions League next season.”
Grafite, a firm fans’ favourite at the Rashid Stadium, added that the decision to extend his contract was an easy one to make: “The process of renewing my contract took no time at all; when the Chairman of the club, Abdullah Saeed Al Naboodah told me of the club’s desire to renew my contract, I agreed on the spot for many reasons. I am very happy at the club and enjoy being part of the atmosphere here.”
The Brazil international left the Bundesliga for the Middle East in 2011. Before extending contract at Al Ahli, he was pondering a move to North America.
He had reportedly said: “It would be nice to play the championship in the USA. The league is growing and I think I could help in this growth.”
Despite his fantastic club form, Grafite does not believe that a recall to the international team is on the cards, and believes his veteran status means he won’t add to his four caps.
“My story in the Brazilian team was short. With my age is hard to be called-up now.”
Grafite is remembered by most for his goalscoring exploits in Wolfsburg’s shock Bundesliga win in 2009, and he looks back fondly on the campaign in which he scored 28 goals.
“Wolfsburg had a great team. Felix Magath got the best of us,” he added.