Ricardo Quaresma says he has no regrets about his short-lived spell at Al Ahli as he now looks to recapture past glories with Porto.
The winger was an exciting capture for the UAE Pro League side in January, 2013, from Besiktas.
But the move did not work for Quaresma, nor Al Ahli, as they cut short his deal after just five months.
He signed off by helping the Red Knights win the UAE President’s Cup and rejoined Porto, where he previously won three league titles, in January.
He said: “I enjoyed my time in Dubai, I enjoyed the experience, won the cup, and I would like to thank all the people there for helping me.
“They were good to me when I was there, but now I have another life with Porto and new ambitions and new things to achieve.
“I don’t have regrets, not with the move to Dubai nor ever in my life. Unfortunately I could not produce my best for Al Ahli, but now I am back to my best and showing what I can do.”
Quaresma, 31, gave an indication of his return to form with a fine cameo in Portugal’s 1-0 friendly win over Argentina on Tuesday.
Having replaced Cristiano Ronaldo, it was his inch-perfect cross that picked out Raphael Guerreiro for the injury-time winner.
Quaresma was pleased to make an impact and said: “I’m in love with football and each day I try to produce my best more and more. This season has been great for me, but I still want to do more.
“I’ve said many times that I love Porto. I had happy times and success before and now I want the same again. I’m back in the Portugal squad and I’m very proud to wear my country’s jersey and help them. That has always been what I wanted.”
Compatriot Nani is also flourishing back in his homeland after his loan move to Sporting Lisbon and has cast doubt on his Manchester United future.
“I am very happy how it is going at Sporting,” he said.
“I wanted to play more and yes I had to get away from United to achieve this. I saw the opportunities at United were going to be less for me so I had to make a choice. I had been at Old Trafford for a long time, for seven years, and I think I needed a little time away to understand and find my confidence again.
“Louis van Gaal gave me the option to go. I could have stayed but I chose the best option for me at the time and I think I was right. Football has given me everything and when I play I really enjoy myself so I want to play all the time. That wasn’t happening at United.
“You can accept not playing regularly for one or two years, but after that when you know you have the quality to play you have to make a choice.
“It is a possibility that I might come back to Manchester United. Why not? But it is something that eventually we will have to discuss and see if it is possible.”
Al Nasr midfielder Brett Holman has admitted it wasn't easy to settle in the UAE but insists he is now happy and ready to win more trophies with his club.
Holman arrived from the English Premier League side Aston Villa during the summer of 2013, but despite a seemingly smooth transition on the pitch, things weren’t all plain sailing for the Australia international during his first season in the UAE.
“It was difficult to start with; anyone who has moved to a new country knows that it takes time to adapt," Holman told the Arabian Gulf League's official website.
"I had a lot of things to organise with my wife and two young children, trying to find a house and get used to everything, but despite all the adjustments the first season went really well.
Holman, who lives on 'The Palm' in Dubai, says his family are loving life in the Emirate.
“The kids love it, and my wife and I want to stay here even after I finish playing football," says Holman. "From both a family perspective and football perspective now everything is great.
"We have a few really good local friends who live close to us, and they help us with learning about the culture, so it enriches our experience of living here. So far it’s been one of the best experiences of my life, and I know my family would say the same.”
Holman's debut season in the UAE was a huge success, as he won the Arabian Gilf Cup with Al Nasr. And he believes there is more glory awaiting his team.
“With the players and infrastructure we have at this club, our ambition should always be to aim for titles,” Holman said.
“Both Al Shabab and ourselves are in good form; neither side has been impacted much by losing too many players to the National Team, and looking at our 100% records in the Cup you’d say we are the two teams who have gained the most from the situation.
"We have a great chance of progressing to the semi-finals of the competition, and then there’s a massive chance of winning a trophy," the 30-year-old says.
Al Wahda picked up their first Arabian Gulf Cup point with a 1-1 draw at home to Sharjah, but it could have been so much more had Argentine frontman Sebastian Tagliabue not missed a second half penalty.
The hosts might have been severely depleted but manager Jose Peseiro will be disappointed his men didn’t convert their first point into a maiden win.
Even though Tagliabue’s awkward penalty could have won the game for his side, Peseiro refused to criticise his frontman, who had been Wahda’s standout performer.
The game was defined by two headers.
Leonardo Lima’s, arriving when he rose unmarked to nod in the opening goal after 11 minutes from a corner, was inexcusable from Wahda’s defensive standpoint.
The other, from the Maroons’ main man, was simply unstoppable. Mohamed Barghash’s cross was irresistible and the imposing South American arrowed his header past a motionless Rashid Ahmed.
Despite a first point, however, they still face an uphill task to qualify for the knockout stages.
Wahda were missing eight regulars in all, including seven with injuries, and their fans might have been fearing another was joining the crowded treatment room when Damian Diaz did not appear for the second half.
Peseiro said after the match that he hopes it is not serious and revealed he took off his talented Argentine playmaker just as a precaution.
His fellow countryman was Wahda’s best player but he was also guilty of wasting several guilt-edged chances, the best a 72nd minute penalty, which was kicked away by Sharjah stopper Rashid Ahmed.
“Sebastian has scored 10 penalties and missed one, which isn’t bad,” said Peseiro.
“Other players can take penalties but I like my strikers to take them and, until now, he has done well.
“If Sebastian scored we could have won so I am not happy because we didn’t win, but I am happy with the performance.”
On Diaz he said: “He felt some pain, someone kicked him but possibly it is no big problem. I preferred to substitute him because if it is a muscle problem he could maybe be out for a month, but I hope it is nothing serious.”