Perfect conditions and world-class facilities at Zayed Sports City greeted star players from a host of international clubs as they entered winter training in the capital throughout January and February.
Sweden, Finland and Iceland's national teams joined top European teams FC Anzhi Mahachkala, FC Krasnodar, FC Kryliya Sovetov and FC Spartak Moscow from the Russian Premier League, as well as K-League team Jeonbuk Korea FC and Khazakstan Premier League team FC Kairat Almaty. The teams took part in a number of training camps at the high quality facilities and undertook a series of friendly matches.
In total, 12 teams participated in camps for a total of 48 days over 325 hours at the Zayed Sports City pitches. They also played friendly matches against teams including China and Khazakstan.
Barry Bremner, General Manager of Zayed Sports City, said: "These players are at the pinnacle of their sport and it is a great testament to the facilities at Zayed Sports City that we are again chosen as the destination where they feel they can best train and perfect their skills for the year ahead. We are blessed with excellent weather in Abu Dhabi during the winter months and it is easy to see why this is the perfect place for teams from all over the world to come and train here."
Bremner continued: "Our grounds team work tirelessly to ensure our pitches are in perfect condition to meet the needs of individual teams and we are capable of hosting multiple top-level matches in a short period of time."
Zayed Sports City has long been recognised as the leading sports and entertainment destination in the UAE and welcomes more than 1.65 million visitors annually. It has furthermore earned a reputation internationally as a venue with high quality pitches, outstanding amenities and unparalleled customer service. Since 2013, the venue has welcomed leading international and professional clubs from the world's top football leagues to train and play friendly matches, including Brazil against Iran and the UAE national team against Manchester City.
Lars Lagerbäck, Icelandic team coach, said: "There are a number of reasons we choose to come to Abu Dhabi. First of all, there are very good training facilities. The climate is perfect and we can find good games. Overall, we are very satisfied.
"We also have many pitches to choose from and the hotel standards are of course good here in Abu Dhabi. It is a really good spot in the winter, especially coming from the northern part of Europe."
He added: "It's my third time here in Abu Dhabi. I was here two years ago with Iceland and I've been here once with Sweden, so you can see I love to keep coming back. If I continue coaching, I will definitely be thinking about coming back here with another team."
Zayed Sports City boasts 16 football pitches which are programmed to capacity on a regular basis. They are the home of City Football Schools (Manchester City programme), as well as community football and major football events.