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Vucinic targets titles with Jazira as Caicedo heads for the exit door

Title ambitions: Mirko Vucinic (c) has done his homework on both Jazira and the UAE.
Title ambitions: Mirko Vucinic (c) has done his homework on both Jazira and the UAE.

Mirko Vucinic has vowed to bring success back to the Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium after he was officially unveiled as an Al Jazira player last night.

Vucinic, 30, also insisted he had not come to Abu Dhabi to take early retirement as it was revealed the club were in talks to terminate the contract of the man he will replace as their main forward, Felipe Caicedo.

The Montenegro international arrives from Juventus, where he was a Serie A winner for the last three seasons in a row.

Jazira will now hope he can use that experience to drive the club on as they go in search of a second UAE league title — a challenge that proved attractive to Vucinic.

“I would like to thank Al Jazira club, the management and my colleagues in the team. They have welcomed me and the negotiations did not take that long because I knew about the club and I knew about the history,” he said. “This club has not won titles for some years now and I felt this need and will from them to win something; and me too, I want to win.”

Jazira have endured two seasons without silverware since lifting the 2012 President’s Cup, having picked up six trophies in the five years before that.

The club has also proved something of a graveyard for big-name strikers over the last 12 months, with both Caicedo and Nelson Valdez struggling to adapt.

Vucinic says he has researched the Arabian Gulf League and the Arabic lifestyle.

“I am currently 30, next October I will be 31 and I would like to have my future here.”

Vucinic becomes one of the most decorated players ever to play in UAE football, having won eight trophies in 14 years in Italy.

First team manager Ayed Mabkhout is hopeful that kind of experience will prove invaluable at the Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium.

“I would like to welcome Mirko Vucinic. He has been one of most important players in Italy with three different clubs – Lecce, Roma and Juventus," said Mabkhout.

“He also plays for his national team and we would like him to show his best for Al Jazira.”

Mabkhout also revealed that new coach Eric Gerets had been “very impressed and very excited” when the idea of signing Vucinic was put to him.

The Montenegrin will take the place of Caicedo in Jazira’s foreign quartet, with Mabkhout later admitting the Pride of Abu Dhabi were currently “trying to agree a settlement with Caicedo so both parties are happy.”