Qatari outfit Al Sadd, where former Barcelona midfielder Xavi plays, have confirmed that striker Akram Afif has been signed by Villarreal.
The 19-year-old is set to become the first player from Qatar to play in La Primera and his signing is seen as a big coup for the Gulf state as it readies itself for the 2022 World Cup.
Afif, of Tanzanian descent, spent some time on loan with both Sevilla and Villarreal as a youngster before signing for a Qatari-owned team in the Belgian second tier in January 2015, where he scored seven goals in 21 appearances.
A product of Qatar´s Aspire Academy – founded in 2004 to develop young athletes in the country – Afif made his debut for the Qatar national team in September last year when he scored in a 15-0 thrashing of Bhutan in a World Cup qualifier.
“I hope I can be one of the best players in La Liga for Villarreal and playing in the Champions League is an objective for me,” he told Qatar´s World Cup organising body in an interview.
“I also hope more players from Qatar can play in Europe in order to learn a lot of things before the World Cup.
“The tournament is in our country and it’s a big chance for Qatari players.”