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Transfer Profile: Ikromjon Alibaev

Transfer Profile: FC Seoul Ikromjon Alibaev Alibayev
FC Seoul began their winter transfer business with the permanent signing of Uzbekistan international midfielder Ikromjon Alibaev from Lokomotiv Tashkent. K League United spoke with Мamur Mamadaliev, Lokomotiv's Marketing Relations and Media Officer to get the lowdown on what FC Seoul fans can expect from their new signing.
(Image via FC Seoul) 

How was Ikromjon Alibaev viewed at Lokomotiv? What about in the Uzbekistan Super League in general?

He came to Lokomotiv in 2013 and started to play in the youth team. In 2014 Alibaev started to play with the senior team and then made his debut in (Asian) Champions League in 2015. After this he played with the first team. At that time the National Team coach Mirjalol Kasimov also called him to up to the full National Team for friendly match. He played with Lokomotiv for five seasons and scored some very beautiful and important goals.

From this year Uzbekistan Professional League changed its format to “Golden Points” with 12 clubs. It means that after two rounds, the top six clubs play each other for the Championship and other six clubs play each other in the relegation round. This year was quite difficult for Lokomotiv to earn the golden medals (finishing first after two rounds) but Lokomotiv were crowned Champions after getting 'Golden Points' against Pakhtakor second thanks to a 1-3 away win and a 3-2 win at home.

What are the strongest aspects of his game?

He is intelligent on the field, he will adapt to all situations. He gets the ball and plays it simple. When the coach tells him something, he will do it and he will do it perfectly. He’s one of the biggest and key players for Lokomotiv. He’s a complete player - he’s a top player with the ball and without the ball.

Reason for leaving?
Every football player wants to play abroad. He won it all with Lokomotiv; three times Uzbekistan Champions, three times Uzbekistan Cup winner, and one Uzbekistan Super Cup, three times a silver medals winner.

All young football players want to have careers like Server Djeparov (FC Seoul 2011, Seongnam 2013-2014, Ulsan Hyundai 2015), Timur Kapadze (Incheon United 2011), Odil Akhmedov (Shanghai SIPG) and Aleksandr Geynrikh (Suwon Bluewings 2011).

We are close friends with him (Alibaev). He always wanted to play abroad, have fresh challenges, to know if he is a strong player in big leagues. K League is also very big league with big names and coaches. He has had big offers from Iran, Russia, China, Malaysia and Thai clubs. Also, last year, Alisher Usmanov's Uzbek club, Pakhtakor, wanted to buy him. But Lokomotiv bosses agreed a deal with FC Seoul.

Where do you think he would be best utilised with FC Seoul?
Alibaev is being deployed in an advanced midfield position, but he started to play deeper in midfield and control the game from there. The new coach, Andrey Fyodorov, insisted that he will continue to play Alibaev higher up in midfield, insisting that he wants a more creative midfielder to start the attack from deep. Also he played for the Uzbekistan National Team under Héctor Cúper as a left midfielder. Héctor Cúper said that Ikromjon is happy to play anywhere, he knows Ikromjob can play in the centre too.

What should K League fans expect from him?
He is a fan of Barcelona, he likes to replicate Messi and Iniesta-style passes. He is creative midfielder and I think the FC Seoul coach has already sen his role in with Lokomotiv and also with the Uzbekistan U-23 team. I think he soon will be key player of FC Seoul and the fans will love him.

Best moment with Lokomotiv?

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