x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Al Ain’s Omar Abdulrahman invited to play with world’s best in Brazil charity match

UAE national team standout will be only Arab player featured in Brazil charity match, writes Ahmed Rizvi.

UAE's Omar Abdulrahman, centre, has received an invitation from the Brazilian Football Federation for a charity match between Brazil and a Rest of the World side. Satish Kumar / The National
UAE's Omar Abdulrahman, centre, has received an invitation from the Brazilian Football Federation for a charity match between Brazil and a Rest of the World side. Satish Kumar / The National

Omar Abdulrahman could be playing alongside superstars like Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney in December as the Al Ain and UAE ace has received an invitation from the Brazilian Football Federation (CBF) for a charity match between Brazil and a Rest of the World side.

Abdulrahman is the only Arab player invited for the match, which will be held at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro.

Messi’s Barcelona teammates Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta, Ronaldo’s Real Madrid teammate Karim Benzema, the France and Bayern Munich star Franck Ribery and the Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech are some of the other stars who are expected to line up for the Rest of the World.

Abdulrahman is excited about receiving the invitation, which was delivered to him through the UAE Football Association.

“This is a great honour for me, especially since I am the only Arab player invited for the game, which will receive considerable media attention,” Abdulrahman told the Arabic daily Emarat Al Youm.

“The feeling is indescribable. It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me. An opportunity to play a match like this, alongside international stars, does not come often and I hope I can leave an honourable impression of UAE, Gulf and Arab football.

“It will also be a great learning experience for me and I cannot wait for December to arrive.”

Abdulrahman has forwarded the invitation to his bosses at Al Ain club and is hoping to get a positive response from the club.

“December is going to be a very busy month for the team, but I still hope Al Ain will approve my visit to Brazil for this historical match,” he said. “It is an opportunity that will not come very often. I will be representing the country and my club there, and bringing attention to the football here. So I am confident the management will have no problem in allowing me to travel to Brazil.”

arizvi@thenational.ae