Al Arabi coach Zola dreams of luring Messi away from Barcelona

Published July 16th, 2015 - 02:26 GMT
Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi

New Al Arabi coach Gianfranco Zola has admitted that luring Barcelona attacker Lionel Messi away from Camp Nou would be his ultimate dream, but added that improving the quality of local players will be his main objective.

A number of high-profile names have found their way to Qatar and UAE in recent years, including Xavi, Pep Guardiola, Frank de Boer and Gabriel Batistuta, and Zola hopes his side's owners can land him a player of Messi's calibre, although he has acknowledged such a task will not be easy.

"If the club is willing to buy Lionel Messi for me, that’ll be my first requirement. I’ll then be the happiest man on earth,” the former Italy international told Doha Stadium Plus.

"But, for me, the real challenge is to improve the quality of local players. It’s key to our ability to win major titles in the long run.

"Foreign players can only help to a certain extent. My staff is experienced at developing raw talent. We can really make a difference."

Zola recently joined Al Arabi after previous spells in charge of West Ham, Watford and Cagliari.

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