There will be millions of people in the UAE crowding around screens on November 21 as league leaders Barcelona look horns with Real Madrid in the first El Clasico of the new season.
With numerous places to witness the drama unfold, Sport360 has selected our pick of where to watch El Clasico in Abu Dhabi.
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Where: Beside Al Raha Beach Hotel and Resort, Abu Dhabi
McGettigans has three bars in the UAE: two in Dubai and one in Abu Dhabi. The bar in the capital boasts a great atmosphere with reasonably priced food on offer. The chicken wings are a winner and never fail to disappoint.
Where: Park Rotana
One of the capital’s top sports bars, Cooper’s offers superb service and a great choice of food and drink. With four plasma screens, you’ll have a great view of all the live action from El Clasico. ‘Cooper’s Nachos’ and ‘Fried Calamari’ are among the best dishes on offer.
FACEBOOK: Park Rotana Abu Dhabi
Where: Grand Millenium, Al Wahda
Located in the heart of Abu Dhabi, supporters from Real Madrid and Barcelona are expected to follow the action at this venue in the hope that their beloved team can prevail. There is an impressive choice of drinks available, while on the food front, the ‘Lasagna’ and ‘Porters Club Sandwich’ are up there with the best around.
FACEBOOK: Grand Millennium Al Wahda
Where: Zayed Sports City
Located in the International Tennis Stadium of Zayed Sports City, Sportsmans Arms is another great venue to watch the drama unfold. The American/Irish concept restaurant is the perfect place to enjoy food after taking in the thrilling action from El Clasico.
FACEBOOK: Sportsmans Arms
Former Real Madrid and Spain captain Raul was left with mixed feelings after bringing the curtain down on his 21-year playing career.
The 38-year-old signed off on a winning note on Sunday night when he helped the New York Cosmos clinch the North American Soccer League Championship with a 3-2 victory over Ottawa Fury.
He told he reporters after the match: "I'm happy but it's tinged with some sadness. The decision has been taken.
"It's been a great year at Cosmos, hard but a great experience. I'm very proud for everything I did and thank you to the club, my team-mates and the fans for this amazing year."
The veteran forward initially announced he was hanging up his boots in 2014 following a stint with Al-Sadd in Qatar but reversed his decision later in the year before joining Cosmos.
He made 28 appearances and scored eight goals during his time at the club, which culminated in Sunday's title-winning victory.
He said: "It's been a fantastic year. There were ups and downs.
"Soccer is growing in the US and that's a positive thing. There are some good teams in this league and the technical side of the game is getting better too."
Raul has not yet revealed what his next step will be, but he has ruled out making an immediate return to Real Madrid.
He spent 16 years with the Spanish giants, making 550 appearances and held the record for the highest number of goals scored (323) until last month when Cristiano Ronaldo surpassed it.
He won six La Liga titles and three Champions Leagues during his time at Madrid before leaving the club in 2010 for German side Schalke.
Madrid president Florentino Perez on Sunday wrote an open letter lauding club "legend" Raul and said that the 10-time European champions would welcome him back with open arms in the future.
However, Raul, who played over 100 times for his country, has said he is not looking to move back to his homeland any time soon.
"My future is in New York, I plan to spend some time with the family and then we'll see. Real Madrid is my home," he said. "The club has always had the door open for a return but it's not the time. I need to take a break. I'll always watch and support Real Madrid."
Raul's Cosmos team-mate and former Spain colleague Marcos Senna, 39, also hung up his boots after the NASL final.
Senna spent the main part of his career at Villarreal, scoring 25 goals over his 13-year-spell at the Spanish club before moving to Cosmos in 2013.
After the match he said: "To win next to Raul was an ideal situation. I'm thankful for him being here throughout the year as he made the difference many times and scored many goals.
"In addition, today he didn't get the goal, but he got the assist. He's a player that is a game-changer."
Hong Kong and China fans will be kept completely separate at their crunch World Cup qualifier Tuesday, using different entrances and even different toilets as organisers try to head off tensions following last year’s pro-democracy rallies.
Around 1,200 police officers will be on standby for the match, according to local media reports, or about one for every five fans at Hong Kong’s 6,000-seat Mong Kok Stadium.
Officials have also warned fans to behave themselves after booing of Hong Kong’s “March of the Volunteers” anthem — which the territory shares with China — prompted FIFA to fine the Hong Kong Football Association more than $5,000.
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“We are separating the audience from mainland China and Hong Kong, even for the toilets,” HKFA chairman Brian Leung said Sunday.
“I think the chances of them meeting each other is very, very little,” he added. “I urge fans to stay calm… show your sporting spirit.”
Football fans jeering the anthem in semi-autonomous Hong Kong, ruled under Deng Xiaoping’s “one country, two systems” principle, follows a souring of sentiment towards Beijing.
The densely packed Mong Kok commercial district was also the scene of the most violent clashes between police and protesters during last year’s “Umbrella movement” pro-democracy rallies.
Tensions between fans were further fuelled this year when the Chinese Football Association released a much-criticised, racially charged poster describing Hong Kong’s players as “black-skinned, yellow-skinned and white-skinned”.
The match is critical to both Hong Kong and China’s chances of reaching the 2018 World Cup in Russia as they lie second and third respectively in Group C, after drawing 0-0 under heavy security in Shenzhen in September.
Hong Kong, currently on 13 points, have only one game left after Tuesday’s match, away against group leaders Qatar in March. China are on 10 points but have a game in hand.
On Tuesday, fans will enter the stadium through different gates and will be given separate bathrooms and food kiosks in two segregated areas, divided by security officers, organisers said.
About 500 away fans are expected. Tickets for the game sold out within hours earlier this month, with demand bringing down the organisers’ website and reports that tickets are now being touted for 10 times their original price.
Assistant district commander Yu Wai-kit told a press conference on Sunday that “adequate” manpower would be deployed to ensure the event took place in a “peaceful manner”, without confirming the numbers.
Elsewhere, Australia will also play their away tie with Bangladesh under heavy security after Australia’s cricket tour of the country was cancelled over safety fears.
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Malaysia’s home game against UAE will be held behind closed doors at Shah Alam Stadium on orders of FIFA, after flare-hurling fans forced the hosts to abandon a qualifier against Saudi Arabia in September.
Thai fans will be closely watching events in Kaohsiung, where hosts Taiwan can put them into the next round if they avoid defeat to Iraq in Group F.
Eight group winners and the four best-placed runners-up will proceed to the next stage of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, and also earn a berth at the 2019 Asian Cup in the UAE.