Abu Dhabi: UAE football’s poster boy Omar Abdul Rahman, who won the AFC Player of the Year award last week, could be taking on the might of the Barcelona’s MSN — Messi, Suarez and Neymar next week.
FC Barcelona are scheduled to play a friendly in Doha, Qatar on December 13 against’s Al Ahli Saudi FC, the current champions of the Saudi Professional League.
The match, to be played at the Thani Bin Jassim Stadium (home of Al Gharafa), is held as part of the club’s sponsorship deal with Qatar Sports Investment and Qatar Airways.
Omar, who won Asia’s top award after being in reckoning for the second year running, has been given an invitation to play for the Saudi outfit, but has yet to confirm participation for the contest.
The Al Ain star, popularly known as ‘Amoory,’ is scheduled to play against Dibba the same evening in the Arabian Gulf Cup and it is still not clear if his club would give him clearance to head to Doha — which would be an ideal platform for the Arab star to showcase his talent among the best in the world.
“Yes, he has been invited, but we are yet to decide on it. We will be taking a call on it after Al Ain’s match against Al Wahda on Thursday,” said an Al Ain club official.
‘The Boss’ Al Ain is looking to climb up the ladder in the local league after missing out on the AFC Champions League title following a 1-1 draw in the second leg against Korea Republic’s Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors, who claimed the title with a 3-2 aggregate win.
UAE’s ace playmaker was forced to skip the pre-award press conference ahead of the AFC awards as his side was playing a match against Al Dhafra in AG League and hence the uncertainty surrounding his participation against Barca.
Al Ain due to their AFC Champions League commitments is lagging behind in the local tournaments and is doing catching-up having played less number of matches than their rivals. They are currently third with 19 points in the AG League standings having played seven matches.
Abdul Rahman, after bagging the AFC Player of the Year award, had expressed his readiness to make that transition to Europe if the offers are appealing. “Every player has a dream to play in Europe. If I get a good offer from a big and good club, I would not mind it. But you have to note that Al Ain is also a very big team and everyone dreams of playing for Al Ain,” Abdul Rahman said. This Barca fixture is indeed an opportunity to get noticed to fulfil that aspiration. It will be interesting to see what call Al Ain and coach Zlatko Dalic takes with regards to releasing Abdul Rahman, but Al Wahda coach Javier Aguirre’s advice was to let the mercurial medio go.
“Omar is such a talent that the world needs to see him. I think it is an exceptional opportunity. He has to go and express himself there. Yes the match against Dibba will be crucial with regards to three points, but these things don’t come often. It is a balance which the coach and the team management have to decide, but for me he has to be there,” said Aguirre.