Ricciuto will not play for Velez in 2020/2021 season

Fadhil Yunus

Former DPMM FC midfielder Blake Ricciuto will not be able to play for his new club Velez CF in the 2020/2021 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Spanish outfit.

The central midfielder has only joined the club in August after leaving the Gegar Gegar men at the end of last season.

However, Velez confirmed in a statement that paperwork problems have led to the player’s omission from the team in the upcoming season.

“Veluz Club de Futbol have reported that Blake Ashley Ricciuto will not be part of the first team squad during the 2020/2021 season,” the club statement said.

“Despite the great work of Spain’s immigration service, the situation we’re unfortunately experiencing because of COVID-19, is seriously delaying the paperwork in Australia.

File photo shows Blake Ricciuto celebrating during a Singapore Premier League match. PHOTO: SPL

“Because of this, a mutual agreement was reached whereby the Australian footballer will not reach the city of Velez-Malaga at the moment.

“Hopefully in the future, our paths will cross again. We wish Blake the best of luck and success,” the club concluded.

The former Penarol man responded, “Too bad, I won’t be able to wear a Velez shirt this year!”

Despite the turn of events, he expressed his gratitude to the club and hopes to be part of the club in the future.

Ricciuto has looked set to make his debut in the Tercera Division, the fourth tier of Spain football system.

The Sydney-born bossed DPMM FC’s midfield and became an instant fan favourite as the Gegar Gegar men secured the Singapore Premier League (SPL) title.

He was also named as the AIA Singapore Premier League Player of the Month for April 2019 in recognition of his stellar performances. His strike in the 7-1 win against Balestier Khalsa FC earned him the Mitre Singapore Goal of the Month.

Ricciuto – who is of Uruguayan and Italian descent – scored nine goals in 23 league appearances as he became the first Australian to win the league with the Brunei-based outfit.

Velez CF first-team players attended the first training session in preparation for the 2020/2021 season at the Polideportivo Fernando Ruiz Hierro last month.

The Velenos will begin their campaign at home against Alhaurin at the Estadio Vivar Tellez on October 18.