Three Star Strikers Under the Boss Radar.. Croatia’s Ivan Leko Officially Signs to Al Ain for Two Seasons


Al Ain FC has officially announced assigning a new head coach to the team, Croatia’s Ivan Leko “41” years old, until 2021. The new coach has already assumed his responsibilities to lead the team and contribute to achieve the Boss goals in the coming big local and intercontinental challenges.

H.E. Mohammed Obeid “Hammad”, Board Member of Al Ain Football Company and Supervisor of the first and reserved football teams, stated that the significant achievements of the newly-appointed head coach in the Belgium league made him shortlisted among other big names to lead the team. “Ivan’s successes made him one of the top nominees to lead the team in the new season. We were attracted by his personality, his manners of dealing with his squad, way of thinking and on top adopting the Croatian football school which suits Al Ain’s style of playing and based on its principles the team achieved significant titles during the past seasons as players adapted swiftly to it,” he said.

He underlined that the Technical Committee made the required comparison among all candidates and concluded that Ivan Leko would be the best choice to lead the team in the coming two seasons and to build upon the successes achieved by his previous countrymen.

Hammad added: “Negotiations kicked off since a good period of time. The coach requested to watch a number of the team’s matches besides discussing certain issues on the foreign players nominated to join the team and positions to be filled to boost the squad’s performance and efficiency. We felt that we have already commenced our job even prior signing the contract.”

“Today, we discussed the next season agenda and the pre-season preparations. Also, as part of our quest to achieve the team’s goals, we also tackled certain issued on preparing the squad players for the coming challenges. We are now waiting for a detailed technical report to be submitted by the new coach and his assistant team to finalize all pending issues prior kicking off the local and away summer camps,” Hammad said.

Responding to a question on the team’s new preparation program, he commented: “Ivan Leko has already reviewed the proposed program and stated that he has certain changes that he will incorporate into his report, specifically the friendly matches, preparation periods and training sessions based on his vision on how to prepare the team for the new season. All the details will be announced shortly.”

As for the details of the negotiations with the local and foreign players that the Boss intends to join them to the squad this season, he said: “In consultation with the head coach, Al Ain has already kicked off negotiations with certain players, including one from AGL League, Saudi League and the third is from the European league.”

Managing Career

He made his debut as a manager in 2014, with Oud-Heverlee Leuven, but he managed club for a season. In 2015 he became an assistant manager of Greek club PAOK FC under the coaching staff of Croatian manager Igor Tudor, but Tudor was sacked in 2016. A one season, 2016–17, he managed Sint-Truidense V.V. and the next two seasons 2017-18 and 2018-19, he was the manager of Club Brugge. He celebrated Jupiler Pro League and Belgian Super Cup in his first season in Brugge. Also, Leko won the title of Professional Manager of the Year.

Personal Information:

Name: Ivan Leko
Date of Birth: 07/02/1978
Nationality: Croatian
Managing Career: Oud-Heverlee Leuven, Greek club PAOK FC, Sint-Truidense, Club Brugge