Several hundred Al Ain fans turned out to welcome back Asamoah Gyan from the Africa Cup of Nations early yesterday morning, greeting him at the airport and forming a motorcade to his home, the club reported.
Gyan hired a private plane for his return to the UAE after Ghana lost to Mali in the third-place game, and he arrived at Al Ain airport at around 2.30am.
"The fans surprised me and it is hard to express my feeling at that moment by words," Gyan said in a statement released by the club. "I have never received such welcoming and never had the same feeling.
"I'm really happy for my team also because they kept on top of the standings. I was checking continuously Al Ain football first team news when I was away. … I was away [from] the club by body only, but my heart and soul stayed here in Al Ain."
He added: "I was surprised with this big number waiting for me in the airport. … I felt big love that I feel only within my family."
Gyan said he hired a plane to get back to the UAE in time for Al Ain's game against Dubai tomorrow.
"The only way to catch this match is to have a private plane," he said. "I'm a professional player and I should serve my club and do my work as it should be."