Asian Cup: Goal-ace Mabkhout looks to bridge the Gulf

AFP| Last Updated: Jan 10, 2015, 09:36 AM IST
Asian Cup: Goal-ace Mabkhout looks to bridge the Gulf

United Arab Emirates goal-machine Ali Mabkhout said Saturday he hopes a scoring spree at the Asian Cup could help him win a big-money move to Europe.

Marksman Mabkhout arrives in scintillating form after top-scoring at November`s Gulf Cup with five goals, helping UAE finish third.

He also hit the net more times than any other player during Asian Cup qualification, again scoring five to see his country make the tournament in Australia with ease.

Now the Al Jazira frontman hopes another goal blitz will boost his chances of making the leap to European football, where a number of clubs have Arab owners.

"Being a top-scorer makes me even more determined and motivated to do my best in this competition," Mabkhout said ahead of UAE`s opener with Gulf rivals Qatar on Sunday. 

"If I have the chance to play in Europe it would be great for me, but I leave it up the decisions of the clubs," the 24-year-old added.

UAE`s most notable involvement in European football is in the English Premier League, where an Abu Dhabi group own reigning champions Manchester City.

All 23 players of UAE`s Asian Cup squad play their football domestically but coach Mahdi Ali said some of his charges were destined to compete at a higher level.

"We have many talented players who deserve to play in Europe," Ali said. 

"I would be very happy if some of my players played there as it would give them more and better experience which they could bring to their country as well."