A city minute

We meet the stars of Manchester City FC, Abu Dhabi's sporting pride and joy. Let us introduce them to you

Stephen Ireland
Stephen Ireland
Roque Santa Cruz
Roque Santa Cruz
Carlos Tevez
Carlos Tevez
Gareth Barry
Gareth Barry
Mark Hughes
Mark Hughes
Garry Cook
Garry Cook
1/6
Stephen Ireland

Position: Midfielder
Nickname: Superman
Age: 22
Caps: Has played six times for Ireland
How much?
Yet to make a move: he’s a Blue through and through
What can Man City honestly hope for this season?
‘It’d be very nice to get into Europe, and I think it should be a realistic target for us. It’d be nice to go on a good run in the cup. We’ve never done that, and I think the fans deserve something. I’ve a lot of friends who are big fans of City, and they’re always telling me how long they’ve waited for cups and finals. I can understand their desperation, so it’d be nice to get to Wembley. It’d be nice to push on and challenge for the title, too, but I’m not going to say we’re going to win it. You just don’t know how things are going to pan out. The Manchester Derby would be nice, too. The atmosphere at those games is just electric. As a player, you get so nervous.’

Roque Santa Cruz

Position: Striker
Nickname: Babygol
Age: 27
Caps: Has played 61 times for Paraguay
How much?
Recent move from Blackburn Rovers cost Man City GBP17.5million (Dhs105million)
Is a move to Man City purely about money?
‘Er… in my case, I think it’s a little bit different. My main reason for leaving Blackburn was to try and be as successful as possible at an English club. I think it’s something people will always talk about and, at the same time, I think everyone will see us get the chance to improve as football players. That’s why we’re joining the club. We have assurances that the Abu Dhabi owners will support the club, so it’s good that we will have the chance to play for something bigger, like a European place. We want to be successful. When you talk about great players like Tevez, then you need to give them the money they want. It’s a football reality, and it’s not something new. I don’t think that will change.’

Carlos Tevez

Position: Striker
Nickname: El Apache
Age: 25
Caps: Has played 50 times for Argentina
How much?
A complicated deal, but according to the BBC, somewhere around GBP25million (Dhs151million) in total
How do you hope to hold your place down in a team full of strikers?
‘I’m just going to show them what I’ve been doing all this time. I know what I am. I’m going to try my best for this club.’

Gareth Barry

Position: Central midfielder
Nickname: GazBaz
Age: 28
Caps: Has played 30 times for England
How much?
Liverpool came calling, but he eventually moved between Aston Villa and Man City for GBP12million (Dhs72million)
What’s Man City got that Liverpool hasn’t?
‘I don’t want to start comparing the two. Twelve million pounds was my price tag and Manchester City were quick to pay it. I never really thought about Liverpool this season, and once I spoke to the manager I was excited about joining Manchester City. He assured me that ambitious and successful times can be ahead. You see the players here today, and you can see they’re making it happen quite quickly. Am I worried about holding my place? Of course. You come to a club and realise you have to work hard for that. You might say that at Aston Villa, for the last few years, I wasn’t really threatened. As far as that goes, it’ll only improve me as a player.’

Garry Cook

Position: Executive chairman
Nickname: Boss, presumably
Age: Old enough
Caps: Worked in the US for many years, so plenty of baseball caps
How much?
How much have you got?
Tell us a bit more about the academy you’re opening in Abu Dhabi this December.
‘Our academy is headed up by Jim Cassell, who has been at the club for 10 years. We’ve had tremendous success with Stephen Ireland, Nedum Onuoha, Micah Richards – they’ve all been products of the academy. We’re reaching out to fans and communities around the world. Our obvious kinship with Abu Dhabi makes sense for us to be here. We’re going to be working with the Al Jazeera club, and we’re going to be identifying young talent, whatever their nationality. The academy will have great facilities, hopefully here in our new camp at Emirates Palace. It’s going to be an ongoing build. Who knows? Maybe the next world talent is sitting right here in Abu Dhabi.’

Mike Summerbee

Position: Club ambassador
Nickname: Buzzer
Age: 66
Caps: Played eight times for England
How much?
Buzzer joined Man City for GBP35,000 (Dhs211,000) back in 1965
When you lifted the FA Cup with City back in ’69, did the words ‘Abu Dhabi’ mean anything to you?
‘No, but I came here in 1979 with a group of players to play a game. Bobby Moore, Martin Peters, Geoff Hurst, Ian Callaghan, Peter Osgood, myself, Colin Bell – we all came out here to play. There was no pitch in Abu Dhabi, so we played on a car park, and then we left. It was just something that happened. We were invited to come over, and when we caught the plane at Heathrow and were told we were going to Dubai, none of us knew exactly where we were going. We thought it was a two-hour trip, but it turned out to be six or seven hours. It was worth it at the time to come and see what it was like. They were very friendly people, and they looked after us well. I’ve been back 10 or 12 times since, speaking at dinners with Billy Bremner, so I have a connection. I come to Dubai on holiday, and I came to the Boccelli concert, which was probably the best concert I’ve ever seen. I was crying from start to finish!’

Stats and the City

Total spent by Manchester City this summer:
GBP79.5million (Dhs478million), at the time of press

Total earned through player sales:
GBP2million (Dhs12million)

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