AC Milan will head out to Dubai this month having strengthened its links with the UAE by signing a new five-year shirt deal with Emirates Airline.
The Italian giants, who face European champions Real Madrid on December 30 at The Sevens in the Dubai Football Challenge, yesterday extended their agreement, reportedly worth around $85 million (Dh388m), until the 2019/20 season.
And Tim Clark, president of Emirates Airline, said it would also be interested in naming rights of a new stadium Milan are looking to build in the Rho area as they plan to move out of the city-run San Siro it currently shares with rivals Internazionale.
“We’ve already done it with Arsenal and it’s been a great success,” said Clark. “If there will be an auction, Emirates will participate.”
Barbara Berlusconi, general manager and vice-president of AC Milan, added: “We love the San Siro, but football is evolving and changing rapidly. We hope to announce something in this direction in the near future.
“It is something very important for Milan and the whole of Italy, which is why we want to move on with this project.
“When we’re ready, Emirates are the first people we will present the project to. It would be a dream to collaborate with them on this project.”
Despite the recent announcement that it had ended its association with FIFA and as a World Cup partner, Emirates has maintained its strong presence within European football following this move.
It also has high-profile sponsorship agreements with Madrid, Premier League's Arsenal and French champions Paris Saint-Germain.
As part of the new partnership with Milan, there will be Emirates branding on playing and training kits and within the San Siro, sponsorship of the youth team as well as a number of marketing rights.
The signing also co-incided with the airline’s new A380 service to Milan and Clark added: “It’s a double celebration for Emirates as we deepen our relationship with this great city, heralding two iconic moments, the renewal of our AC Milan sponsorship and introduction of our dedicated A380 service to Milan.
“Milan are known everywhere. We know there are Milan fans in every corner of the globe, all going around in Milan shirts. This could be the beginning of something even bigger.”
Ahead of every round of Premier League games, Sport360 – with some help from our friends at Opta Stats – will provide the pick of the facts and figures. Here are this week's highlights:
Tuesday, December 2
Burnley v Newcastle United
Leicester City v Liverpool
Manchester United v Stoke City
Swansea City v Queens Park Rangers
Crystal Palace v Aston Villa
West Bromwich Albion v West Ham United
Wednesday 3rd December
Arsenal v Southampton
Chelsea v Tottenham Hotspur
Everton v Hull City
Sunderland v Manchester City
All statistics and facts are brought to you by Opta Sports.
Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, who have between them been named the world's best footballer for each of the past six years, face opposition from Germany's World Cup winning goalkeeper Manuel Neuer in the shortlist for the 2014 FIFA Ballon d'Or award.
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Ronaldo, who is the present holder of the title having also won it in 2008, scored a record 17 goals in a Champions League campaign as Real Madrid went on to win their 10th European Cup last term.
Messi, the only player to have won the award four times, failed to win a title this year either with Barcelona or Argentina, although he was integral in his country reaching the World Cup final, where they lost 1-0 in extra-time to Germany.
The 27-year-old did pick up the consolation of player of the tournament.
Neuer, who was outstanding in goal for Germany and for Bayern Munich as they won the domestic double, would be only the second goalkeeper to win the award, which is announced on January 12 in Zurich, after the then Soviet Union's Lev Yashin.
Coach of the year is to be fought out between Neuer's national coach Joachim Loew, Ronaldo's boss Carlo Ancelotti and Diego Simeone, who guided the far less moneyed Atletico Madrid to the Spanish title and the final of the Champions League.
The trio selected for the Puskas Award for best goal are Colombia's James Rodriguez, for his goal against Uruguay in the 2-0 victory in their World Cup last 16 clash, Robin van Persie's leaping header against Spain in their World Cup group game and outsider, Irish female player Stephanie Roche for her goal for Peamount United against Wexford Youths in October 20, 2013.
Roche doesn't make the women's Player of the Year shortlist, which consists of Brazil's five-time winner Marta, Germany's European Player of the 2013-14 season Nadine Kessler and USA's all-time record goalscorer Abby Warmbach, winner in 2012.
Japan's Asian coach of the year Norio Sasaki, who has been in charge of her national side since 2007, Ralf Kellermann, who guided VfL Wolfsburg to the women's Champions League title and his compatriot Maren Meinert, who coached the German Under-20 team to their age category global title, are in line for the women's coach of the year crown.