Superstar striker Bafetimbi Gomis has given the clearest indication that his future remains at Al Hilal, stating there are “many goals I want to accomplish with my team”.
Gomis, 34, has emerged as a beloved hero at King Saud University Stadium since August 2018’s €7 million switch from Galatasaray. The ex-France international’s tally of 63 goals in 81 matches includes a clincher in the 2019 AFC Champions League finals, while his love of gahwa (Arabic coffee) and gregarious nature has endeared him to the Saudi public.
Conflicting reports about a one-year extension to the contract supposed to run out at the end of next month and repeat links with a return to Turkey’s Super Lig, however, have sparked worry. An interview with TRT Spor should calm those fears.
“I am very happy in Saudi Arabia at the moment,” he said. “I have many goals I want to accomplish with my team.
“I do not think I will return to play football in Turkey, but perhaps I’ll live in a great city like Istanbul ahead. We will see what will happen in the future together.”
Gomis’ name has also been attached – by Le Figaro – to French businessman Mourad Boudjellal’s ambitious reboot of lower-league Sporting Club Toulon.
All sporting activities in the Kingdom were halted on March 14 in a bid to curb coronavirus’ spread. This followed a call seven days prior to play the Saudi Professional League’s match-week 22 behind closed doors.
Organisers set last week a provisional date of August 20 for 2019/20’s resumption, confirming a five-month hiatus because of the pandemic. Further developments are expected in the coming days.
Gomis returned to Europe last month on a private plane from Riyadh. The ex-Saint-Etienne, Lyon, Swansea City and Marseille centre forward has entertained his 1.5m followers on Instagram with workouts from home, in a bid to remain sharp for the top-flight leaders.
He said: “I am currently playing in Al Hilal team in Saudi Arabia. I’m very happy here.
“We had a very good season before coronavirus. We were at the top of the league.
“Although some teams start training during the pandemic process, it is very difficult to return to normal.
“I’m staying at my home. I am doing sports at home to get ready for matches.”
Hilal hold a six-point advantage over holders Al Nassr in the SPL and sit second in the postponed 2020 ACL’s Group B. Gomis is the latter competition’s joint-top scorer on three goals from two games.
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