Eastern football is on the rise. The United Arab Emirates football league is no less so. The Asian state concentrates powerful clubs on its continent with important players from other continents who are in the final stages of their careers. An evolution that does not stop.
The United Arab Emirates is hosting an increasing number of major global events. Formula 1 and Expo 2022 in Dubai are just a few examples. Football wants to follow in their footsteps and the national talent is growing at the same level. This is what the top flight of Emirati football looks like.
Emirates Football League teams
The top division of football in the United Arab Emirates is known as the Arabian Gulf League. It is made up of 14 clubs from the seven emirates that make up the Asian state. They are all fighting to become champions, qualify for the Asian Champions League or not to be relegated to Division 1.
It runs from October to March. All teams play each other twice, once as home and once as away. 26 rounds of league matches are interspersed with the two cup competitions, the Presidents Cup and the Pro League Cup.
Top Emirati clubs
The Arabian Gulf League 21/22 is composed of 14 teams. These are Al-Ain, Al-Wahda, Al-AhliDubai, Al Sharjah, Al-Jazira, Bani Yas, IttihadKalba, Al Nasr, Al Wasl, Khorfakkan, Ajman, Al Dhafra, Al Urooba and Emirates Club. The first-placed club advances to the group stage of the Asian Champions League, the second and third qualify and the bottom two are relegated.
Al-Ain is the most successful club in the Persian Gulf state. They have 13 league titles in their trophy cabinet, which stand alongside their most important trophy, the 2003 Asian Champions League. Coaches such as Quique Sánchez Flores, Tite and Pablo Machín have worked for the Emirati club in recent years.
Teams with the most Emirati leagues
Al-Ain leads the ranking of clubs with the most Gulf Arab League titles. The club from the city of the same name has won 13 titles. Behind them come Al-Wasl with seven, Al-AhliDubai with seven, Sharjah FC with six, Al-Wahda with four, and Al-Nasr and Al-Jazira with three.
Al-Shabab Al Arabi also won three leagues. They were in 1990, 1995 and 2008. The club disappeared in 2017 after 60 years of existence. They merged with Dubai CSC and Al Ahli FC to form Al-AhliDubai, which currently competes in the Arabian Gulf League.
Arab Gulf League players
The Arabian Gulf League is a competition on the rise. Both for sporting and economic reasons. It is an attractive league for the countries of the Persian Gulf and Asia in general. Also for Europeans and South Americans, who find in the United Arab Emirates the perfect opportunity to end their careers.
This brings together top-quality national players with old glories who enjoy the last moments of their careers without so much pressure. The 14 clubs’ squads are a colourful mix of international players.
Foreign and national players
In the foreign players section, we find Bernard, formerly of Shakhtar; Fábio Martins, who has played for Porto and Braga; Tozé, who has also played for Porto; and Cristian Guanca, who has played for clubs in Turkey and Argentina.
Top Emirati players competing in their domestic league include Ali Mabkhout of Al-Jazira Abu Dhabi, Fábio Lima of Al-Wasl, Khalfan Mubarak of Al-Jazira Abu Dhabi and Caio Canedo of Al-Ain. Many share nationalities with Portugal or Brazil.
Opportunities for young people in Spain
Even so, the best players in the UAE have a better chance of success away from home. Spain is one of the most suitable places. Therefore, competing in an international football academy in Spain is the best option. SIA Academy has the perfect conditions to have a chance to succeed in football.
Soccer Inter-Action has a high-level performance centre, UEFA Pro licensed coaches and competitions where you can shine. The training and matches of the Emirati players at Soccer Inter-Action allow them to make the leap to professional football.
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