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Croatia giants Dinamo Zagreb agree loan move for Al Ain youngster Ali Eid

Dinamo Zagreb take in Al Ain and UAE Under-23 prospect Al Ain on a season-long loan

Matt Monaghan 2018/07/14

Highly rated Al Ain and UAE Under-23 striker Ali Eid cannot wait to embrace the “extraordinary opportunity” afforded by a season-long loan to the fabled breeding grounds of Croatia’s Dinamo Zagreb.

Eid, 20, on Saturday joined an exclusive club of Emiratis who have inked temporary contracts with European outfits. Al Wahda and UAE centre-back Hamdan Al Kamali failed to make a first-team appearance for France giants Lyon in 2012, while younger brother Hamid became the first of his countrymen to play in the UEFA Champions League’s preliminaries while at Malta’s Valetta in 2014/15.

The 20-goal recipient of the 2017/18 Arabian Gulf Reserve League’s Silver Shoe Award will hope to make a greater impact at his new team, whom 14 of Croatia’s 22-man squad for Sunday’s World Cup 2018 final – including Real Madrid superstar Luka Modric – are either presently or previously employed.

“I will ensure not to miss this extraordinary opportunity and push myself to the limit to achieve my boundless ambitions,” said Eid, who is heading towards the side that current Boss coach Zoran Mamic successfully led from 2013-16.

“I know well what I am meant to do in the coming stage and I am determined to achieve the desired results and gains during this important period of my life.”

Eid did not appear for last term’s double winners in either the Arabian Gulf League or President’s Cup. His only taste of top-flight action to date is a four-minute cameo in January 2017’s 3-2 win at Hatta.

Then Bani Yas and UAE midfielder Amer Abdulrahman had an unsuccessful trial at the Championship’s Blackburn Rovers in 2013. Al Ain superstar Omar Abdulrahman was unable to acquire a work permit in the immediate aftermath of the London 2012 Olympics, after impressing at Premier League heavyweights Manchester City.

This latest move has echoes of neighbours Saudi Arabia’s decision to send nine players to Spain in January, prior to the ongoing World Cup.

Croatian media reported that Eid has signed a contract that states he is obliged to play for Dinamo’s reserves, if he does not meet criteria for a first-team spot.

Mamic and Dinamo are mired in legal problems. The 46-year-old was one of four men handed jail sentences in June – appeals are planned – because of their involvement in multi-million-euro abuse of power and graft related to the club.

They have won 12 out of the last 13 Croatian First Football League titles, including 2017/18’s return to first place.

Success in the top flight has gained Dinamo access to the second qualifying round of the 2018/19 Champions League.

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Al Ain Ali Eid Arabian Gulf League Croatia Dinamo Zagreb World Cup 2018