Matias Delgado squirmed in his seat for 12 long hours on an aircraft while clutching his phone and trying to find some courage to take a photograph of a fellow passenger.
Sitting a few rows in front of him on that flight from Madrid to Buenos Aires was none other than Diego Maradona, a hero to most in football, and certainly one from Argentina who made his money from playing the game.
But while Al Jazira fans may find this difficult to believe, Delgado did not hold his nerve on that occasion, as he does with the ball at his feet on the pitch, and he never got his precious snap.
He is not going to pass up a second chance.
"Before [Thursday night's] game, I'm definitely going to get a picture on my phone of me and Maradona together," said Delgado, whose Abu Dhabi side take on Al Wasl, now coached by his all-time favourite player, at home in the Etisalat Cup on Thursday evening.
"I want to beat him, of course, but I also want to get a photograph this time. I sat with my phone on my lap, waiting for a chance on that flight a few years ago, but it didn't happen. I didn't have the courage.
"That was the only time I've met him, although all that happened was that he said hello to me. I didn't even say anything back.
"I am really happy to be able to play against his team and to get this chance to see him, on a personal level, will be very nice.
"For me, Maradona is the greatest player of all time. As an Argentinian, that makes me proud to say."
The Al Wasl coach is the biggest name to arrive in what has been a hectic and fascinating summer for football in the country, but he is far from the only well known football personality in the UAE.
As for Al Jazira, league and President's Cup double winners last season, Lucas Neill, the Australian captain, is the "only" addition to the squad in terms of foreign investment as the club's Asian player.
And while Delgado, still only 28 and about to begin his second season at the Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium, has been impressed with the move made by his rivals, he is relaxed about the fact Jazira decided to keep their winning squad together, rather than making changes.
"It's great for the league [the signings], for sure. They will bring more quality, the famous faces should make football in this country better recognised around the world and, most importantly, this will help with the league becoming more competitive," Delgado said.
"However, the team that keeps the same squad has an advantage because we don't have to go through the process of getting to know new players, especially the foreign guys, so it's definitely a good thing the club kept this group together.
"Lucas has arrived and he has settled in really well. So we do not have to adapt to anything different."
While Jazira have retained the core of their squad they have appointed a new coach, Franky Vercauteren. The Belgian has not had much time to get his thoughts across, and his first match ended in defeat to Al Wahda in the Super Cup last week.
"We have not had much time to work with the coach, especially as we had a lot of players away with the national team," Delgado said.
"He [Vercauteren] works hard on tactics and perhaps this is the one area where Al Jazira has to improve from last season. I'm happy with the coach and I'm sure we will learn even more over the next few weeks."
Jazira have a lot to live up to. Just one defeat in the league out of 22 games was testament to their dominance, almost from start to finish.
With Delgado pulling the strings, the Abu Dhabi side were comfortably better than everyone else. But this season is expected to be different with their main rivals, Baniyas, Al Ain, Al Ahli and Al Wasl all strengthening, at least on paper.
"The first thing I would say is that there is less pressure on us this season," said the former FC Basle and Besiktas man. "The club had not won anything before the previous campaign, so we really needed to deliver.
"Then we won everything. We know how to win. So we can use all of this in a positive way.
"We lost the Super Cup but maybe that was just what the team needed. We made too many mistakes, especially by giving away penalties, but we can learn from this match. That taught us that we won't win any games easily.
"Teams are going to be desperate to beat us and, maybe, this was a good moment to have a defeat and this will get us in the right frame of mind for the league season."
* Al Jazira v Al Wasl takes place at the Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi, on Thursday night with an 8.30pm kick-off. Gates open at 7pm and free tickets are available.