Cristian Guanca: Returning Argentine looking to pick up where he left off in RSL

Cristian Guanca is back in the Roshn Saudi League following his late loan move to Al Taawoun last week.

Coming right towards the end of the winter transfer window, it means the Al Shabab loanee returns to the Saudi top-flight following a second spell in the Adnoc Pro League in nearby UAE.  

Al Taawoun mark the third RSL club Guanca has represented, after stints at Al Ettifaq and Al Shabab.

Can the forward, who excelled in the Emirates with Al Ain in the 2021-22 season and then spent the first half of this campaign with Al Wahda in Abu Dhabi, help in the Buraidah club’s push for a top-four finish?

Al Taawoun currently occupy fourth spot after 19 rounds, six points off third-placed Al Ahli, and resume the 2023-24 season on February 15, away to Abha.

Guanca, 30 and with tonnes of experience, may well be central to Al Taawoun’s aspirations during his loan until the end of the campaign. Fortunately for Pericles Chamusca’s impressive side, the Argentine has proven already that he can cut it in the RSL.

Al Ettifaq

Guanca joined the Dammam club in 2018, on a one-year loan from Colon in Argentina. It was not his first taste of the Middle East, however: the previous year, he spent a brief spell in Turkey’s top tier with Kasimpasa.

At Al Ettifaq, Guanca was an unqualified success in a team that struggled somewhat, playing 29 matches in the RSL as the club finished 11th. Yet Guanca still managed to score 14 times, ranking him eighth in the final standings for the Golden Boot.

He also registered three assists. His form earned Guanca a move to Al Shabab.

Al Shabab

At Al Shabab, Guanca continued his rude health in his opening two seasons, scoring 28 goals in 58 RSL matches.

After his 11 goals in his debut campaign helped the club finish seventh in the table, it was the following season in which both player and team exceeded expectations: Guanca found the net 17 times as Al Shabab were runners-up to Al Hilal. They finished only four points behind the eventual champions.

Guanca was fourth in the race for the Golden Boot, as he formed a superb on-pitch understanding with playmaker Ever Banega.

Following a season on loan at Al Ain in which he won the UAE championship, Guanca starred on his return to Al Shabab in 2022, notching 13 goals in 29 RSL matches to finish seventh in the scoring charts. Al Shabab were fourth, with Guanca then leaving last summer for a six-month loan to Al Wahda.