Champions League: UAE's Mohammed bin Zayed to visit Turkey for final
The final between Manchester City and Inter Milan will take place at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium on Saturday evening.
Manchester City is owned by City Football Group, a UK-based holding company whose majority shares are owned by Mohammed bin Zayed's brother Mansour bin Zayed.
Observers in Ankara noted that the UAE leader did not attend President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s inauguration ceremony last week, and he may want to personally congratulate the Turkish president following his 28 May re-election.
Ugur Gurses, a Turkish economist who is a specialist on central bank monetary policy, said that an unknown country deposited up to $5bn into the Turkey's central bank over the past two weeks.
Ankara is in dire need of cash due to its depleted foreign reserves, and the UAE could provide temporary relief.
Over the past decade, Turkey has found itself at odds with the UAE - as well as other Gulf states - after offering its support to governments in Libya, Tunisia and Egypt that followed the Arab Spring, while the Emiratis supported various counter-revolutions.
Murat Yesiltas, head of foreign policy research at an Ankara-based think tank, told MEE last week that he believed the UAE was less keen on confrontational policies in places like Libya, and instead recognised the value of Turkey's expertise and knowledge in the defence industry and technology.
Mansour has pumped over a billion dollars into Manchester City since his buyout in 2008, but the club has failed thus far to win the Champions League - European football’s top prize.
They will go into Saturday’s tie as heavy favourites to secure a historic treble, having secured the English Premier League and FA Cup in recent weeks.
Their only previous appearance in the final was in 2021, when despite being favourites they were defeated by Chelsea in an all-English final.