Manchester City FC star Kevin De Bruyne spoke about the passion of young footballers and fans in the UAE as Abu Dhabi prepares to host a youth football tournament featuring teams from across the Middle East, where more than 800 players as expected to take part.
The star midfielder was speaking ahead of the Manchester City Abu Dhabi Cup 2017 which will take place on March 24 and 25 at the Zayed Sports City.
De Bruyne said: "To come and train in Abu Dhabi has allowed us to see what a great place it is for football and the young players will have the very best facilities to play on. There is passion here for the game and that is great to see - the more football events that take place the better.
"We are seeing football spreading all over the world and Abu Dhabi is a great place to really develop the game in this region. The Club spends a lot of time on youth development and I can see that continuing over the coming seasons."
The inaugural Manchester City Abu Dhabi Cup 2017, which is supported by Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority and Etihad Airways, has already seen many teams from the UAE, Oman and Bahrain register to take part and is open to Under 10, 12, 14 and 16 sides.
The winning teams will be awarded with a training camp, which will be held in their own country and delivered by Manchester City coaches.
One of the winning teams will also receive an unforgettable once-in-a-lifetime trip to the Etihad Campus in Manchester where they will get to train and experience first-hand, the same facilities as Vincent Kompany, Sergio Aguero and Kevin De Bruyne.