Emirati artist creates artwork for Manchester City to mark Eid

Diaa Allam’s Arabic calligraphy-inspired artwork features Man City star players Sergio Aguero, Kevin De Bruyne and Riyad Mahrez. (Supplied)
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Updated 31 July 2020

Emirati artist creates artwork for Manchester City to mark Eid

  • Artwork takes inspiration from Arabic calligraphy

DUBAI: Emirati artist Diaa Allam has created an artwork for Manchester City to mark Eid Al-Adha, with the piece of work now available for viewing in the Premier League club’s global platforms.

Allam’s Arabic calligraphy-inspired drawing, which features star players Sergio Aguero, Kevin De Bruyne and Riyad Mahrez, was designed in his Abu Dhabi studio after he was asked to do the work.

“To be honest, I was really thrilled to be asked to work on this project,” he said. “It was a huge honor to work on the design for Manchester City.”

“I’m very excited about the prospect of other Manchester City fans around the world being able to see my work,” the huge Man City fan said.

“It’s great to see a huge international club such as Manchester City send a message to the Muslim community for Eid in this style, it’s fantastic.”

While this particular piece of art was created in Allam’s quiet studio, he often produces work in a totally different environment.

“I’ve been doing it for more than 10 years now, developing my own style and becoming a specialist in Arabic calligraphy,” he explained. “It’s been my full-time job for more than three years. I do the canvases at my studio, but I also produce a lot of live art in front of an audience which is a lot of fun.”

Allam, like the rest of the club’s supporters, is looking forward to Man City’s Champions League match against Real Madrid, in which they hold a 2-1 lead from the first leg.

“I’m a big fan of Manchester City and it’s been great to watch the club achieve huge success and win so many trophies in the past few years.

“I just hope that this season we can finally win the Champions League, and if we can beat Real Madrid, we will have a great chance.”

Gattuso puts Napoli ‘on the path to victory against Barcelona’

Updated 1 min 31 sec ago

Gattuso puts Napoli ‘on the path to victory against Barcelona’

  • We certainly want to write an important page in our history, says club’s head coach

MILAN, Italy: Gennaro Gattuso’s reign as Napoli coach may have started amid turmoil but the former Italy international has put the Serie A club on the path toward a potential Champions League triumph against Barcelona.

The southern Italians head for the Camp Nou on Saturday with a first ever Champions League quarter-final berth beckoning.

“We certainly want to write an important page in our history,” said Gattuso of a feat which not even Argentine legend Diego Maradona managed to achieve with the club.

Both sides are 1-1 after the last 16, first leg in the San Paulo Stadium in February.

But Lionel Messi’s Spaniards have not been beaten at home in the Champions League in seven years as they target a 13th consecutive quarterfinal berth.

Barcelona finished second in La Liga while Napoli were seventh in Serie A, but having secured a Europa League spot thanks to their Italian Cup victory.

Gattuso admitted his “head was already on Barcelona” as his side wrapped up their league season with a 3-1 win over Lazio last weekend.

“We will play on a high-level stage and we want to be worthy of it,” he said.

“We know that if we want to compete against Barcelona we will have to take risks.”

The big question will be how to stop six-time Ballon d’Or winner Messi, a problem which former AC Milan midfielder Gattuso would have happily tackled as a player.

“I can mark Messi only in my dreams, or on my son’s PlayStation,” said the 42-year-old former Glasgow Rangers player, who won two Champions League titles with AC Milan.

“We are ready to face Barcelona. We have our style, we are prepared. But they have one player named Messi who can leave 10 players behind.”

As a player, Gattuso had a fiery reputation, with a dogged never-say-die attitude.

In Naples, more than rage he has brought calm to a locker room traumatized after a disastrous first half of the season under Carlo Ancelotti, his former coach in Milan.

This despite sparse coaching credentials, coming through Sion, Palermo, OFI Crete, Pisa and his beloved Milan before arriving in Naples. He was harshly judged after his 18 months at AC Milan despite their fifth-place finish last season, missing out on the Champions League by one point.

But his successor Marco Giampaolo was sacked after just seven matches.

“It’s a profession that cannot be learned from books but by getting knocked in the teeth. I have had a few failures and will have many more,” said Gattuso.

Since the end of January, and after a difficult start to life in Naples with the team plunging to 13th position and Gattuso facing ridicule, the team have been reborn.

He has given confidence back to players including Lorenzo Insigne, Nikola Maksimovic and Kalidou Koulibaly.

His reputation as a 2006 World Cup star and two-time Champions League and Serie A winner holds weight in the locker room, along with his straight talking style, and work ethic.

“(Gattuso) Rino is the most respected coach in the dressing room since I have been here,” said Napoli owner Aurelio De Laurentiis.

Gattuso’s first trophy came in the Italian Cup just days after the death of his younger sister.

Napoli won a dramatic penalty shootout against Juventus in Rome for their first trophy in six years — a feat not achieved under Gattuso’s predecessors Maurizio Sarri and Ancelotti.