Sheikh Mansour said ‘hello’ to some of his club’s players for the first time tonight when he called in at the magnificent 'Art Deco' Zayed Sports City Stadium.
The owner’s unexpected meet and greet came on the pitch during the Blues final training session ahead of tomorrow night’s sell out friendly against the UAE national team. Watch the Sheikh Mansour video .
He shook hands with members of the team – introduced by Stephen Ireland – chatted to boss Mark Hughes and before heading off and told the squad that he hoped they would enjoy Thursday’s contest in front of a packed audience.
Earlier City CEO Garry Cook and Football Administration Officer Brian Marwood met with Sheikh Mansour who in September celebrated his first anniversary as owner.
The Blues are on their first visit to Abu Dhabi to play a friendly tomorrow night that has attracted huge interest in the Emirate.
Around 300 City fans have made the trip and the team’s support will be boosted by a large number of ex-pats.
They will see a team that is a mixture of senior stars such as Stephen Ireland, Nedum Onuoha, Benjani, Javier Garrido and Pablo Zabaleta and up and coming youngsters.
And according to boss Mark Hughes there may also be some future Premier League players coming through the UAE ranks.
“Ever since Sheikh Mansour’s involvement, the club has only gone in one direction. We will always be grateful for that,” said the manager in his press conference ahead of the game.
From our point of view at the club, knowing that the owner and people who have made the vision happen for him are looking long-term is a major plus.
"It is not about just hoping to make a profit. It is about building a partnership between Manchester City and Abu Dhabi. That is key to everything that has happened to our club. It is really positive.
"With the mindset we have and the knowledge that we will gain, I am sure there will be players from Abu Dhabi wearing the blue shirt of Manchester City at some point in the future,"