This weekend 96 youth football teams from around the world are in Abu Dhabi, competing to win special coaching sessions and for the lucky few a trip of a lifetime to experience the Etihad Campus in Manchester where the stars of Manchester City FC train and play.
A total of 1,344 players, aged between eight and 14, many from the GCC region, are taking part in the Manchester City Abu Dhabi Cup at Zayed Sports City, which kicked off on Friday.
Leroy Sane, the Manchester City star, who was with the squad when they visited the UAE capital last week, said tournaments such as this are helping to quickly develop the game of football in the Middle East.
“It is such a welcoming place to come as a footballer – there is knowledge and passion for the game and the kids especially love it so much," the 22-year-old German international said. “I wish them all the best for the future and the skills and ideas they learn at a young age are so important.”
The Cup is supported by Etihad Airways and the Abu Dhabi Department of Tourism and Culture.
Mohammed Al Bulooki, Etihad Airways executive vice-president of commercial, said: “Etihad strongly believes in youth empowerment through sports, and the Manchester City Abu Dhabi Cup not only promotes an active and healthy lifestyle, but instills in youth life-long skills such as the importance of teamwork and discipline.”
The final day of the Cup 2018 takes place on Saturday.