By Jon Arnold
Mexico center back Hector Moreno is set to become the latest El Tri player to leave one of Europe’s top leagues.
The 31-year-old is in Doha set to undergo a medical ahead of a move to Al-Gharafa SC, the club announced Sunday on its official Twitter account.
The Sinaloa native found playing time tough to come by ever since leaving PSV for Roma in 2017. He moved to Real Sociedad after just one season in Serie A but was in and out of the starting XI with La Real. Moreno did find himself in a good rhythm after closing out La Liga play with several consecutive starts this season.
He managed to start in the semifinal and final Mexico’s successful quest to win the Concacaf Gold Cup after overcoming an injury earlier in the tournament. Moreno remains the only left-footed central defender playing at a high level in the national team pool.
Moreno had two years left on his Real Sociedad, but reportedly is preparing to sign a three-year deal in Qatar. The club, based in the Al Rayyan district surrounding Doha, is the fourth most-successful Qatari club all-time, with seven league titles. Three of those came in consecutive seasons, with the club triumphing in the 2007-08, 2008-09 and 2009-10 seasons. Last season,it finished 8th in the Qatar Stars League. Moreno will be coached by former Tenerife and Chelsea midfielder Slavisa Jokanovic.
Moreno, who played in Liga MX with Pumas before crossing the Atlantic to join AZ in 2008, was linked with a move to MLS in the winter. However, the reported move to the Chicago Fire didn’t materialize. He also reportedly has been the target of interest from Inter Miami, rumors which were no doubt amplified thanks to his frequent trips to the South Florida city. For now, though, it appears the veteran defender will call the Middle East home for the forseeable future.
While there, he’ll look to add to a trophy case that includes an Eredivisie title each with AZ and PSV, plus the 2011 and 2019 Gold Cup titles. Moreno also was part of Mexico’s famous 2005 FIFA U-17 World Championship winners along with peers such as Carlos Vela, Giovani dos Santos and Efrain Juarez.
Al-Gharafa’s season begins with an August 22 matchup in the Stars League against Al-Shahaniya.