AC Milan set for Dubai Football Challenge

AC Milan's Zlatan Ibrahimovic (left) and Robinho (centre) are expected to arrive in Dubai for their winter training camp. (FILE)

Dubai will welcome some of the world’s greatest footballers in the next few weeks when the star-studded AC Milan Football Club takes on Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) in the Dubai Football Challenge which is a joint sponsorship by Emirates airline and Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing, which is Under the patronage of Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Sports Council.

The highly anticipated match featuring the likes of striker Zlatan Ibrahimović and Brazilian superstars Robinho, Alexandre Pato and Thiago Silva for AC Milan and Javier Pastore, Jérémy Ménez and Mamadou Sakho for PSG will take place on Wednesday, January 4 at Rashid Stadium, Al Ahli Football Club.

The Dubai Football Challenge will be the culmination of AC Milan’s annual Emirates-sponsored Winter Training Camp, which will see the 18-time Serie A Champions making the most of Dubai’s fantastic weather and training facilities.

PSG are two-time Ligue 1 winners and have claimed the Coupe de France title an incredible eight times, while AC Milan, who are widely regarded as the most successful club in world football, not only have an outstanding Serie A record, but have also claimed the Champions League/European Cup title seven times in their illustrious history.

Hamad Mohammed bin Mejren, Executive Director Business Tourism at DTCM said: “W e are looking forward to a successful fourth edition of Dubai Football Challenge with two great teams like AC Milan and Paris Saint-Germain. As part of The Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing strategies to promote Dubai, this event will contribute to positioning Dubai as a leading tourism and sport destination and stimulate visitors from key targeted markets around the world."

Ahmed Khoory, Emirates Senior Vice-President, Gulf, Middle East and Iran said: “As the shirt sponsor of both AC Milan and PSG it is a real coup for us to bring these two world-class teams to Dubai. Emirates is involved with football sponsorships around the globe so being able to offer fans in the UAE the chance to experience top class international teams up close is an excellent way of leveraging our sponsorship benefits.”

Tickets for the Dubai Football Challenge, which will kick off at 7.30pm on January 4, 2012, will go on sale in mid-December and will be available at Virgin Megastores and online through ITP Tickets and Virgin, as well as from Al Ahli Football Club

The Dubai Football Challenge was first held in 2007 where German Bundesliga side Hamburg were victorious in a four-team competition involving the UAE and Iran national teams and Stuttgart.

Hamburg retained the title the following year when they overcame the UAE, China and Vasco da Gama.

Milan, featuring David Beckham and Ronaldinho, won the last Challenge match in 2009 against Hamburg in a penalty shoot-out after a 1-1 draw. 

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