Former Valencia ace signs for Malaysian Super League side.
Former Argentine international Pablo Aimar, signed a contract with Malaysian club Johor Darul Takzim on Saturday, making him one of the biggest foreign names to ever join a team in the Southeast Asian country.
Aimar signed for two years — with an option to extend for another three — in a ceremony at a stadium in southern Johor state, a football official said.
The official declined to reveal the contract’s value but said the 33-year-old attacking midfielder was the “highest ever paid foreign player to have ever graced Malaysian football”.
Aimar has earned 52 international caps and was an important member of Argentina’s 2002 and 2006 World Cup squads.
He also has had a successful club career, first with Argentine giants River Plate, and later Spanish top-tier teams Valencia, Real Zaragoza and most recently Portugal’s Benfica.
Aimar impressed many as a teenager with his playmaking skills, earning early comparisons to Argentine legend Diego Maradona. Due in part to injuries, Aimar was never able live up to such lofty expectations.
Johor Darul Takzim finished last season in third place.
Malaysia allows two foreign players per team though this is expected to increase to three next year, according to football officials.
There are currently dozens of foreigners playing in its top tier as Malaysian football has tried to attract big names to boost a sport beset by match-fixing scandals.
Last year the Football Association of Malaysia suspended 18 youth players and banned a coach for life for match-fixing.