PETALING JAYA: Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) have axed Argentine superstar Pablo Aimar.
Johor FA (JFA) president Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim announced in a statement on the club’s website that the move to drop the injury-plagued Aimar was part of their clear-out strategy, which also involved replacing Spanish coach Cesar Jimenez with Bojan Hodak.
“As it is, Pablo Aimar has not fully recovered from his injury and could not contribute 100% in the games played,” said Tunku Ismail.
“After playing two matches for JDT, we had to sit him out of six matches due to the injuries suffered. With the high investment that we have made on our foreign players, we expect to field three foreign players at all times.
“Clearly, we were not able to maximise our investment.”
Aimar is the second foreign player after Singapore’s Baihakki Khaizan to be axed by JDT this season. The Southern Tigers have secured Brazilian defender Marcos Antonio Elias Santos in the second transfer window to replace Baihakki.
The 34-year-old Aimar signed a two-year deal with JDT last September. He has 52 international caps and played at the 2002 and 2006 World Cups. He has featured in eight of the 14 matches JDT have played so far this season and has scored only two goals.
The other two foreign signings in the JDT squad are Singapore’s Hariss Harun and Argentina’s Luciano Figeruoa.
JDT are currently third in the Super League standings with 25 points – three behind leaders Pahang and one behind Selangor, who have a game in hand.
Earlier, this month, manager Hodak was appointed as caretaker coach to replace head coach Jimenez.
Jimenez is still with the JFA set-up as tactical director and continues to assist Hodak. He also overlooks the JDT back-up squads – the Under-21 and JDT II.