Batistuta to partner Fandi at Johor?
State's crown prince says Argentinian great will soon arrive in M'sia to discuss terms
by Tan Yo-Hinn Updated 08:14 AM Feb 08, 2012SINGAPORE - In a stunning development, Johor crown prince Ismail Sultan Ibrahim revealed in his Twitter account yesterday that Argentina legend Gabriel Batistuta could join the state's Malaysian Premier League (MPL) side and work with former Singapore star Fandi Ahmad.
According to Ismail, who is also the Johor FA president, Batistuta will arrive in Johor soon to hold talks with him and Fandi.
Batistuta, who turned 43 a week ago, is Argentina's record all-time leading scorer with 56 goals from 78 appearances during an 11-year international career that included appearances at three World Cups and two Copa America triumphs in 1991 and 1993.
He started his footballing life in his native Argentina, turning out for River Plate and Boca Juniors in a professional career that spanned almost two decades from 1988 to 2005.
But it was in Italy that he rose to global prominence, first in a nine-year spell with Serie A side Fiorentina, before he moved to Roma and won the Scudetto in 2001.
Batistuta retired in 2005 after a spell with Qatari side Al Arabi.
Should he agree terms with Johor, Ismail said the Argentine will collaborate with Johor FA technical adviser and team manager Fandi on strengthening the state team. He said he is confident that Batistuta will also spur young local Johor players to improve their game.
The crown prince signed Fandi to his current positions on a three-year deal earlier this month.
Johor FA are currently fifth in the 12-strong MPL standings with nine points after six matches, four points behind leaders Pahang, who beat them 2-0 last night in Temerloh. The MPL is Malaysia's second division, below the Super League which features Singapore's LionsXII team.
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