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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 22 June 2018

The National's competition winners meet Manchester City at Emirates Palace

Dalia Mohamed entered her husband in The National's competition to meet Manchester City team

Youssef Al Badr (left) won the competition to meet Manchester City Premium League Football team at Emirates Palace on March 16. Here he is pictured with City defender John Stones.
Youssef Al Badr (left) won the competition to meet Manchester City Premium League Football team at Emirates Palace on March 16. Here he is pictured with City defender John Stones.

Two lucky readers got a chance to meet Manchester City football team at Emirates Palace after winning a competition by The National.

Woken by her baby early last Thursday morning, Dalia Mohamed scrolled through Facebook and tried to get back to sleep. On a whim, she entered the competition for her husband.

The squad was on a five-day training break in the capital.

“It’s quite hard to be a new parent if you haven’t had kids before and he needed something to pick him up,” said Ms Mohamed, who works at a humanitarian organisation. “He’s been incredibly supportive since we’ve had our baby Malik and I thought I’d enter him even if it was a one in a million chance.”

Ms Mohamed submitted a twenty word entry making the case for her husband. “Honestly, I could have written 20 pages,” she said. “I couldn’t explain how supportive he is for me and what a great father he is.”

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They got news that they had won the competition a few hours later.

“I couldn’t believe it,” said her husband, Youssef Badr. “I was telling her two days before, ‘do you know, Dalia, Manchester City is here in Abu Dhabi?’ I was showing her some pictures on Instagram but I couldn’t imagine that I’d be watching them a few days later. I kept calling her back, telling her ‘I can’t believe it’.”

Mr Badr joined the competition’s other winner, Mohammed Hassan, a physician from India who lives in Dubai. They met the team, took photos, got autographs and watched a two-hour training session at Emirates Palace.

“It was a great experience,” said Mr Badr, who works at Sky News Arabia. “I love football, I love the Premier League. Lots of kids were calling out the players’ names when they saw them and I was like them.”

During the squad's trip, Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, and owner of Manchester City Football Club, met with manager Pep Guardiola, Manchester City FC manager.

Sheikh Mansour commended the football team administrators, technical staff as well as players wishing them a success.

Manchester City have enjoyed a superlative-laden season and remain in first place in the Premier League.

Its Abu Dhabi holding company also owns Major League Soccer franchise New York City, Australian side Melbourne City, Uruguay's Club Atletico Torque, a joint majority stake in Spanish club Girona and a minority stake in Japan's Yokohama F Marinos.