HOUSTON // Subait Khater, the UAE and Al Ain midfielder, finished a creditable fourth in front of some of the world's finest free-kick experts in the US$1 million (Dh3.67m) Free Kick Masters competition in Houston, Texas, on Saturday. Khater, 28, has won many a match for club and country with his ability from deadball situations and he showed his class while competing against some of the world's best players.
Barcelona's Brazilian star Ronaldinho, Chelsea's new signing Deco of Portugal, Lionel Messi of Argentina, the Italian Alessandro Del Piero and Brazilians Robinho, Juninho and Luis Fabiano were among those showing off their shooting skills. Khater was unlucky to be knocked out of the competition on a tie-breaker after four players were tied with two goals apiece from their three 25-yard attempts in the semi-finals. This left the Ecuadorian Segundo Castillo and Mexicans Rafael Marquez and Jared Borgetti to battle out for the title - with Marquez eventually coming out on top.
Khater scored with all six of his attempts in the first round and managed two out of three in the second to reach the semi-final stage. Ronaldinho and Messi both failed to go beyond the first round in the 30-man competition. England's David James won $500,000 after winning the goalkeeping competition. He beat the former Italian international Francesco Toldo, the American duo of Kasey Keller and Brad Friedel and the Colombian Faryd Mondragon.