The very best teenage talent in the UAE have come together under the du LaLiga High Performance Centre in a mission to achieve their potential and become professional footballers.
The starlets all have a huge chance in Marbella this month as they aim to impress LaLiga scouts and earn trials at clubs while playing top-class Spanish academies.
Sport360° are there for the first week of the tour – check out the best of Day 5 below.
PART FOOTBALLER, PART ENTREPRENEUR
Football is never far from the minds of the du LaLiga HPC starlets, but many have dreams that expand well beyond the confines of the pitch.
For no one is that more true than 15-year-old Adham Bayoumi – who wants to be a fashionable player in more ways than one.
Though the Egyptian national, UAE-born winger is one of the best talents on du LaLiga HPC Under-16s’ team, he already has a back-up if Plan A does not bear fruit.
Next month marks the launch of Finesse Dubai, a line of streetwear clothing that Bayoumi and his friends hope will take off after spotting a gap in the market.
“Fashion is a big part of the Dubai lifestyle and football as well, and people in Dubai really like to show off what they’re wearing,” he explained. “I feel like I can influence people with my style and try and create something new and unique, which is also authentic to Dubai.
“Me and my friends decided to create a brand called Finesse Dubai and we took inspiration from our favourite brands.
“With that we are set to launch in September. I already have everything with me, like the shirts – they are all in my room waiting!
“We have a supplier from China – prior to that I bought 100 blanks from a wholesale, but it was not as efficient as it was coming from America and the shipping prices were very expensive.”
Indeed the teenager leads a busier life than most, as just before touching down with du LaLiga HPC in Marbella, he had completed an entrepreneur course during his ‘month off’ at Brown University in America.
Despite those other distractions, football remains Bayoumi’s biggest passion – having been scouted for du LaLiga HPC through the UAE Streets Cup.
“I think the whole feel of the du LaLiga HPC is very professional,” he added. “You train in a stadium, you use professional balls, you have the professional coaches, you come to Spain and have the media follow you also.
“I have high hopes to become a professional, and my dream is to be playing in a top team – a team in the top five leagues in Europe.
“If that doesn’t work out, we have different universities in mind like Berkeley, UCLA, Stanford if I’m crazy smart.
“They are all very creative universities and a lot of start-ups start there. We say if I can’t play professional football, why not buy a professional club when I’m older!”
AL WASL SPOTTED IN MARBELLA
The tourists had a taste of home yesterday as Dubai-based Al Wasl played a friendly against local side Balona at Marbella Football Centre, where the youngsters train every day.
There was drama ahead of kick-off as small fires sprung up just outside the centre, and a helicopter was needed to dump water and snuff the flames out.
Unfortunately for Al Wasl their football was less than sizzling, as the local third division side won the match 2-0. It’s still early days, however …