Asamoah Gyan will play under Uruguayan coach Jorge Fossati at UAE champions Al Ain after the club confirmed his appointment late on Thursday night.
The 60-year-old Uruguayan, who won the Asian Champions League with Qatar’s Al Sadd in 2011, succeeds Cosmin Olaroiu, who defected to Dubai’s Al Ahli earlier this month.
The Garden City club, who are back-to-back league champions, had initially overlooked Fossati in pursuit of former Al Jazira double winner Abel Braga, but the Brazilian refused to leave Fluminese before the end of his current contract, and compensation costs also complicated the deal.
Fossati has signed a one-year deal and will arrive in the UAE on Saturday.
He has previously managed clubs in his native Uruguay, Paraguay, Argentina, Ecuador and Brazil, but also has extensive experience in Saudi Arabia and Qatar, including managing the latter’s national team.
The Asian Champions League win with Al Sadd remains Fossati’s biggest achievement in the Middle East, while he also won the 2009 Copa Sudamericana with Ecuador’s LDU Quito and league titles in Uruguay, Ecuador, Qatar and Paraguay, as well as cup titles in Saudi and Qatar.
Al Ain will expect Fossati to lead them to their third consecutive UAE league title, despite competition from former coach Olaroiu’s Al Ahli. They will also have to improve upon past performances in the Asian Champions League, which they last won in 2003.