Though the playmaker signed for Al Wahda in July, they were unable to call on his services for their first match of the Arabian Gulf League season against Dibba on Thursday, as Brazilian club Palmeiras were adamant on not letting the playmaker go before his contract expired.
The deal ended on August 17 and he finally managed to make his way to Abu Dhabi — where he had a successful stint with Al Ain from 2008 to 2010 — with his wife Daniela Aranguiz and their two children.
“I’m back in the UAE because people here have a lot of respect and love for me. So, I’m really happy to join a big club like Al Wahda,” said Valdivia, who has signed a two-year contract.
“I’m happy with my move to Al Wahda. It is good and I’m sure I can add value to the team and to UAE football. The sport is growing in this part of the world and it’s a good time to be here.
“Inshallah, we will take the championship with this club. We will have to play as a unit and take it match by match. It’s been around five years that Al Wahda has not won the title and Inshallah we will be trying to change that this time round.”
Valdivia, though he struggled with Palmeiras, stole the limelight at the Copa America earlier this summer as Chile won the title for the first time. What stood out was Valdivia’s ability to pass the ball through scarcely perceptible gaps in his opponents’ defensive line.
Al Wahda’s high-profile coach Javier Aguirre will be hoping for a similar impact from the playmaker, whose arrival completes Al Wahda’s foreign quartet alongside former Arsenal midfielder Denilson, Argentine Sebastian Tagliabue and Kuwaiti centre-back Hussain Fadhel.
“Doing well here is the top priority for me. I have come here to play my best football and shall try to give Al Wahda what they are looking for,” added Valdivia.
Al Wahda made a telling start to their campaign with a 4-0 rout of Dibba and will next be playing at home to Fujairah in the Arabian Gulf Cup on Friday.
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