Pohang’s Farias signs $2.5M deal with Al-Ahli

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Pohang’s Farias signs $2.5M deal with Al-Ahli


Sergio Farias

It’s official: Al-Ahli Jeddah of the Saudi Professional League announced over the weekend on its Web site that it signed Sergio Farias away from the Pohang Steelers.

According to Saudi media reports, Farias inked a one-and-half-year deal on Christmas worth $2.5 million and will start his tenure with the Saudi club in January.

The 42-year-old Brazilian manager had been linked to a deal with the Saudi club in a report earlier this month. IM Scouting, a football news Web site, reported on Dec. 14 that Farias was set to cement an agreement with the Saudi club.

The Pohang Steelers, who won the AFC Champions League on Nov. 7 against Al Ittihad in Tokyo, Japan, were competing in the FIFA Club World Cup at the time. Farias initially denied the reports and then told players and team officials at the conclusion of the FIFA Club World Cup tourney that he was taking a year off from the Steelers for “family reasons.”

The initial report from IM Scouting stated that Farias signed an 18-month contract for a total sum of $700,000 with a transfer fee of $400,000 paid to Pohang. Farias had re-signed with Pohang in June as part of a two-year deal.

Since joining the Steelers in 2005, Farias has turned Pohang into one of the best and most exciting clubs in the K-League and across Asia. Farias won his first K-League title in 2007, leading his fifth-ranked team to a league title and claiming the K-League Manager of the Year honor. Since that impressive run, Farias has been widely regarded as one of the brightest minds in Korean football.

Pohang won the AFC Champions League and the Peace Cup but fell short of their goal of winning three titles, losing to Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma in the semifinals of the K-League Championship - their first loss at home this season.

Farias joins a club that won the Saudi Professional League title twice, in 1978 and 1984. Led by Gustavo Alfaro of Argentina, Al-Ahli finished the past season in third place with a record of 11 wins, seven draws and four losses. Al-Alhi qualified for the 2010 AFC Champions League in Group A.

By Jason Kim [jason@joongang.co.kr]
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