West Asia Saudi Arabia

OFFICIAL: Al Hilal sign Oman international Ali Al Habsi

Oman international goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi has left English club Reading to join Saudi Arabian side Al Hilal.

The 35-year-old has signed a three-year deal with the Saudi Professional League champions, who won their 14th title last season.

Al Habsi was Reading’s player of the year last season, which reached the English Championship division play-off final under manager Jaap Stam.

“It was surely a tough decision to take,” he wrote on Twitter. “I have spent a great two years at Reading. It was a one of a kind experience.

“I am sure Reading will do great next season, especially with a perfect manager like Jaap Stam, you will push forward and will have excellent results.”

Al Habsi was able to join Al Hilal on a three-year deal after the league operators relaxed rules on overseas players, permitting clubs to field foreign goalkeepers.

He is expected to make his competitive debut for Al Hilal when the Riyadh-based club take on Iran’s Persepolis in the quarter-finals of the Asian Champions League in Augsust.