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Al-Ain Football Club (Arabic: نادي العين لكرة القدم‎; transliterated: Nady al-'Ayn) or Al-Ain FC or simply Al-Ain is a professional football club, based in the city of Al Ain, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. It is one of many sport sections of the multi-sports club Al Ain Sports and Cultural Club (Arabic: نادي العين الرياضي الثقافي‎) Al Ain SCC for short.

Al Ain FC
نادي العين لكرة القدم
Full nameAl-Ain Football Club
نادي العين لكرة القدم
Nickname(s)Al Zaeem (The Boss)
FoundedAugust 1968; 51 years ago (1968-08)
GroundHazza Bin Zayed Stadium
OwnerMohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan
ManagerIvan Leko
LeagueUAE Pro-League
2018–19UAE Pro-League, 4th
WebsiteClub website

The club was founded in 1968 by players from Al Ain, members of a Bahraini group of exchange students and the Sudanese community working in the United Arab Emirates.[1]

Al Ain is by far the most successful club in the UAE.[2] The team quickly gained popularity and recognition throughout the country, being the team with the most tournament titles (32 in total).[3] Al Ain has won a record 13 UAE Pro-League titles, 6 President's Cups, 3 Federation Cups, 1 Arabian Gulf Cup, a record 5 Super Cups, two Abu Dhabi Championship Cups, one Joint League Cup, Emirati-Moroccan Super Cup, Gulf Club Champions Cup and AFC Champions League. The club is the first and only UAE side so far to win the AFC Champions League.[4]


Foundation and early yearsEdit

In 1971, a group of young men learned the rules of the game by watching British soldiers playing football and formed their own team. The first pitch was very simple and small, taking the shape of a square sandy plot of land on the main street near the Clock Roundabout in Al Ain.[5]

In August 1971, the club was officially established, taking its name from that of the city. The founders thought it was necessary to have a permanent headquarters for the club and rented a house on the current Khalifa Road for club meetings. The club's founders took responsibility for all the club's affairs, from planning the stadium to cleaning the club headquarters and washing the kit.[5] Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan was approached for assistance and he provided the club with a permanent headquarters in the Al Jahili district and a Land Rover to serve the club and the team.[6] Al Ain made a successful debut by beating a team made up of British soldiers and went on to play friendly matches against other Abu Dhabi clubs. In 1971, the team played their first match against international opposition when they were defeated 7–1 by the Egyptian club Ismaily in a friendly match for the war effort. In 1971, a group members of the club (Hadher Khalaf Al Muhairi, Saleem Al Khudrawi, Mohammed Khalaf Al Muhairi and Mahmoud Fadhlullah) broke away and founded Al Tadhamun Club.[7] In 1971, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan provided the club with new headquarters with modern specifications: the Khalifa Stadium in Al Sarooj district.[6] In 1974 Al Ain combined with the breakaway Al Tadhamun, to form the Al Ain Sports Club. The first board of directors of the club was formed after the merger under the chairmanship Mohammed Salem Al Dhaheri.[7]

The founders were Mohammed Saleh Bin Badooh and Khalifa Nasser Al Suwaidi, Saeed Bin Ghannoum Al Hameli, Abdullah Hazzam, Salem Hassan Al Muhairi, Abdullah and Mane'a Ajlan, Abdullah Al Mansouri, Saeed Al Muwaisi, Nasser Dhaen, Abdullah Matar, Juma Al Najem, Ibrahim Al Mahmoud, Ibrahim Rasool and Ali Al Maloud and Ali Bu Majeed, who were the members of the Bahraini group of exchange students, and Maamoun Abdul Qader, Mahmoud Fadhlullah, Al Fateh Al Talib, Hussain Al Mirghani and Abbas Ali from the Sudanese community working in the UAE.[1]

First titles and Entry to the Football League (1974–1997)Edit

In February 1974,.. the club won its first title, the Abu Dhabi League. On 13 November 1974, Sheikh Khalifa was named honorary president of Al Ain, in recognition of his continuing support for the club.[7] On 21 May 1975, Sheikh Sultan bin Zayed Al Nahyan was elected Chairman of Board of Directors. In 1975, Al Ain won its second Abu Dhabi League[8] In the same year on 21 March 1975, the club played its first UAE President Cup losing 4–5 on penalties in the Round of 16 against Al Shaab after drawing 1–1 in normal time. In 1975–76 season, the team participated for the first time in the UAE Football League, finishing runners-up behind Al Ahli. Al Ain won its first League title in the 1976–77 season, after drawing 1–1 with Al Sharjah in the last match. In the following season, they finished runners-up to Al Nasr; Mohieddine Habita was the top scorer with 20 goals. In the 1978–79 season, Al Ain secure third place with 27 points in the league and defeated by Al Sharjah in the President Cup final.

Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan became president of Al Ain on 19 January 1979. Al Ain won the League again in the 1980–81 season and lost the President Cup final to Al Shabab of Dubai. In 1983–84, the team won Joint League Cup and followed with its third League title, becoming the second with Al Ahli to have won the championship three times. The team had the strongest attack with 35 goals, and Ahmed Abdullah, with 20 goals was the joint-winner of the Arab League Golden Boot award for top corer, alongside Al Wasl striker Fahad Khamees. This season was the first season in which foreign players were excluded from the UAE League, a restriction which was opposed by Al Ain. The team were eliminated in the qualifying stages of the 1986 Asian Club Championship. After winning the League title in 1983–84 season, Al Ain failed to win any trophies till 1989 when they won the Federation Cup. In the following year they reached the final of the President Cup, losing to Al Shabab.

The 1992–93 season began with several new signings: Saif Sultan (Ittihad Kalba), Salem Johar (Ajman), Majed Al Owais (Al Thaid), Saeed Juma (Emirates). Al Ain won their fourth League title with three games left to play, after a 5–0 win at Al Khaleej. In the following season, they finished second in the Football League and were runners-up the 1993 UAE Super Cup losing 2–1 against Al Shaab of Sharjah. They also reached the President Cup final but were beaten 1–0 by Al Shabab, failing for the fourth time to win the Cup. In 1994 and 1995, Al Ain lost two President Cup finals, finished second in the League, won the 1995 UAE Super Cup and lost out in the Asian Cup Winners' Cup second round to the Kuwaiti team Kazma. In the 1996–97 season, Al Ain were eliminated in the round of 16 of the President Cup by Hatta of Dubai and finished fourth in the Football League.

The Golden Age (1997–2003)Edit

Before the start of the 1997–98 season, the honorary board was formed on 7 June 1997.[9] After this important quantum leap, Al Ain won the league championship. In the following season, they won the President Cup and finished runner-up in the league and secured the third place in their second appearance in Asian Club Championship, after the 1985. Ilie Balaci took charge in 1999. He led them to their sixth League championship, while in the Asian Cup Winners' Cup they were eliminated by Al Jaish on the away goals rule in the first round.

In 2003, Al Ain contested the AFC Champions League competition. In the Group stage they won all three matches, beating Al Hilal of Saudi Arabia, Al Sadd of Qatar and Esteghlal of Iran. In the semi-final they were matched against the Chinese side Dalian Shide over two legs. In the first game, Al Ain won 4–2 at home, with Boubacar Sanogo scoring twice. In the return match in China Al Ain went 4–2 down with six minutes to play but won 7–6 on aggregate after a late goal by Farhad Majidi. The final saw Al Ain face BEC Tero Sasana of Thailand. In the home leg, Al Ain prevailed 2–0 with goals from Salem Johar and Mohammad Omar. At the Rajamangala Stadium on 11 October, Al Ain were beaten 1–0 by Tero Sasana, but won 2–1 on aggregate to become the first Emirati club to win the Champions League.

New Era (2016–present)Edit

In December 2018, Al Ain which celebrated the 50th year anniversary participating in the 2018 FIFA Club World Cup, representing the host nation as the reigning champions of the UAE Pro-League. Al Ain beat Team Wellington from New Zealand in the first round and Espérance de Tunis of 2018 CAF Champions League champions to enter semifinal. On 18 December 2018, Al Ain defeated Copa Libertadores champions River Plate by penalties hosted in home stadium Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium to enter the final for the first time in team history and became the first Emirati club to reach the decisive match. The final, on 22 December, was lost 4–1 to UEFA Champions League winners Real Madrid at the Zayed Sports City Stadium in Abu Dhabi.


Hazza Bin Zayed
Field size105 m × 68 m (344 ft × 223 ft)
Opened14 January 2014 (2014-01-14)
ArchitectPattern Design Limited (2014)

Al Ain first playground was set up on the main street near the Clock Roundabout. Took the shape of a square sandy plot of land.[10]

Al Ain has owns three home grounds, Tahnoun bin Mohammed Stadium, Sheikh Khalifa International Stadium, and Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium which opened on 14 January 2014.

Crest and coloursEdit

The Al Jahili Castle is considered as a symbol of the club, because it reflects the history of the city and also was the formal home of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan since 1946 when he was a ruler's representative. It officially became a crest for the club in 1980.[11]

The team began playing in green and white in 1968. After merging with Al Tadhamun in 1974, their red color became Al Ain's from season 1974–75 till the start of season 1976–77. During the first team training camp in Morocco in 1977, a friendly tournament was held by Moroccan club Wydad Casablanca with the Nice, Sporting CP, and Anderlecht. Al Ain admired Anderlecht's purple colors, and an idea came to change Al Ain's colors to purple. The idea was presented to Sheikh Hamdan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, who agreed to change the club colors officially to the purple with the beginning of the season 1977–78. They import a single star in their emblem because of their 10 championships of the UAE league.[12]

Current squadEdit

As of UAE Pro-League:
Where a player has not declared an international allegiance, nation is determined by place of birth.

No. Position Player Nation
1 Goalkeeper Mohammed Abo Sandah   United Arab Emirates
2 Defender Ali Al-Hidhani   United Arab Emirates
3 Defender Salem Al-Jabri U21   United Arab Emirates
4 Defender Mohammed Ali Shaker   United Arab Emirates
5 Defender Ismail Ahmed (Captain)   United Arab Emirates
6 Midfielder Yahya Nader   Egypt
7 Forward Caio Canedo   Brazil
8 Midfielder Abderrahmane Meziane   Algeria
9 Forward Kodjo Laba   Togo
11 Midfielder Bandar Al-Ahbabi   United Arab Emirates
12 Goalkeeper Hamad Al-Mansouri   United Arab Emirates
13 Midfielder Ahmed Barman   United Arab Emirates
14 Midfielder Rayan Yaslam   United Arab Emirates
16 Midfielder Mohamed Abdulrahman   United Arab Emirates
17 Goalkeeper Khalid Eisa   United Arab Emirates
18 Midfielder Khaled Al-Bloushi U21   United Arab Emirates
19 Defender Mohanad Salem   United Arab Emirates
20 Midfielder Andrija Radovanovic   Serbia
21 Midfielder Mohammed Helal   United Arab Emirates
22 Defender Mohammed Fayez (Vice-captain)   United Arab Emirates
23 Defender Mohamed Ahmed   United Arab Emirates
24 Midfielder Falah Waleed U21   United Arab Emirates
26 Midfielder Omar Yaisien U21   France
27 Midfielder Mohsen Abdullah   United Arab Emirates
28 Midfielder Idriss Mzaouiyani U21   France
30 Midfielder Mohammed Khalvan   United Arab Emirates
33 Defender Tsukasa Shiotani   Japan
35 Defender Ahmed Jamal U21   Egypt
44 Defender Saeed Jumaa   United Arab Emirates
50 Midfielder Mohammed Jamal   United Arab Emirates
70 Midfielder Hazem Muhanaeh U21   Syria
77 Forward Ali Eid U21   United Arab Emirates
97 Midfielder Sulaiman Nasser   United Arab Emirates
99 Forward Jamal Ibrahim   United Arab Emirates


Other players under contractEdit

Where a player has not declared an international allegiance, nation is determined by place of birth.

No. Position Player Nation
15 Defender Khaled Abdulrahman   United Arab Emirates
36 Goalkeeper Dawoud Sulaiman   United Arab Emirates
Forward Saad Khamis   United Arab Emirates
Forward Hamzah Muhanaeh   Syria

Out on loanEdit

Where a player has not declared an international allegiance, nation is determined by place of birth.

No. Position Player Nation
Defender Saeed Musabbeh (on loan to Ittihad Kalba)   United Arab Emirates
Defender Waleed Seraj (on loan to Hatta)   Sudan
Midfielder Mohammed Fathi (on loan to Al-Hamriyah)   Egypt



Current technical staffEdit

Position Name
Head coach   Ivan Leko
Assistant coach   Damir Krznar
2nd Assistant coach   Alen Peternac
Fitness coach   Ivan Štefanić
Fitness coach   Milan Šnjarić
Goalkeeping coach   Nikola Marić
First team tehnical analyst   Vedran Attias
Club doctor   Jurica Rakić
Physiotherapist   Ivica Oršolić
  Marin Polonijo
  Božo Šinković
U-21 team head coach   Željko Sopić
Team Manager   Matar Obaid Al Sahbani
Team Supervisor   Mohammed Obeid Hammad
Team Administrator   Essam Abdulla
Director of football   Sultan Rashed

Last updated: July 2019
Source: Al Ain Club

Management and hierarchyEdit

President   Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan
Vice President   Hazza Bin Zayed Al Nahyan
Chairman of Board of Directors   Ghanem Mubarak Al Hajeri
Vice Chairman of Board of Directors   Ahmed Humaid Al Mazroui
Board of Directors Member   Mohammed Obeid Hammad
Board of Directors Member   Sultan Rashed Al Kalbani
Board of Directors Member   Ali Msarri Al Dhaheri

Updated to match played August 2016
Source: Al Ain Club


36 official Championships

Domestic competitionsEdit

Winners (13) (record): 1976–77, 1980–81, 1983–84, 1992–93, 1997–98, 1999–00, 2001–02, 2002–03, 2003–04, 2011–12, 2012–13, 2014–15, 2017–18
Runners-up (8):[15] 1975–76, 1977–78, 1981–82, 1993–94, 1994–95, 1998–99, 2004–05, 2015–16
Winners (7): 1999, 2001, 2005, 2006, 2008–09, 2013–14, 2017–18
Runners-up (7): 1978–79, 1980–81, 1989–90, 1993–94, 1994–95, 2006-07, 2015–16
Winners (1): 2008–09
Runners-up (1): 2010–11
Winners (5) (record): 1995, 2003, 2009, 2012, 2015
Runners-up (3):1993, 2002, 2013
Winners (2): 1974, 1975
Winners (1): 1983
Winners (3): 1989, 2005, 2006
Winners (2): 2005, 2006

Regional competitionsEdit

Winners (1) : 2001

Continental competitionsEdit

Winners (1) : 2003
Runners-up (2) : 2005, 2016
Runners-up (1) : 2018

Friendly competitionsEdit

  • Emirati-Moroccan Friendship Super Cup
Winners (1): 2015

Managerial historyEdit

No. Nationality Head coach From Until Honours
1   Nasser Dhaen (No such name in FIFA)* 1968 1971[citation needed]
2   Abdel Aziz Hammami 1971 1973
3   Ahmed Hajeer 1973 1976
4   Hamid Dhib 1976 1976
5   Ahmed Alyan 1976 1979 1 Championship
6   Abdelmajid Chetali 1979 1980
7   Ahmed Nagah 1980 1982 1 Championship
8   Nelsinho Rosa 1982 1984 1 Championship
9   Miljan Miljanić 1984 1986
10   Jair Picerni 1986 1986
11   João Francisco 1986 1988
12   Zé Mario 1988 1990 1 Federation Cup
13   Mahieddine Khalef 1990 1992
14   Yusri Abdul Ghani 1992 1992
15   Amarildo 1992 1995 1 Championship
16   Shaker Abdel-Fattah 1995 1995 1 Supercup
17   Ángel Marcos 1995 1996
18   Lori Sandri 1996 1996
19   Cabralzinho 1997 1997
20   Shaker Abdel-Fattah 1997 1998 1 Championship
21   Nelo Vingada 1998 1999 1 President's Cup
22   Ilie Balaci 1999 2000 1 Championship
23   Oscar Fulloné 2000 2000
24   Mrad Mahjoub 2000 2001 1 Gulf Club Champions Cup
25   Anghel Iordănescu 2001 2002 1 President's Cup
26   Ahmed Abdullah* 2002 2002
27   Džemal Hadžiabdić Jan 2002 2002 1 Championship
28   Bruno Metsu Aug 2002 May 2004 2 Championships,
1 Champions League,
1 Supercup
No. Nationality Head coach From Until Honours
29   Alain Perrin July 2004 Oct 2004
30   Mohammad El Mansi* Oct 2004 Jan 2005 1 Federation Cup
31   Milan Máčala Jan 2005 Jan 2006 1 President's Cup
32   Mohammad El Mansi* 2006 2006 1 President's Cup,
1 Federation Cup
33   Anghel Iordănescu June 2006 Dec 2006
34   Tiny Ruys* 2006 2007
35   Walter Zenga Jan 2007 June 2007
36   Tite July 2007 Dec 2007
37   Winfried Schäfer 2007 Dec 2009 1 Cup,
1 President's Cup,
1 Supercup
38   Rasheed Mahmoud* Dec 2009 Dec 2009
39   Toninho Cerezo Dec 2009 April 2010
40   Abdul Hameed Al Mistaki* April 2010 Dec 2010
41   Ahmed Abdullah* 2010 2010
42   Alexandre Gallo 21 Dec 2010 6 June 2011
43   Cosmin Olăroiu 6 June 2011 6 July 2013 2 Championships,
1 Supercup
44   Jorge Fossati 29 July 2013 13 Sept 2013
45   Ahmed Abdullah* 13 Sept 2013 27 Sept 2013
46   Quique Sánchez Flores 27 Sept 2013 8 March 2014
47   Zlatko Dalić 8 March 2014 23 January 2017 1 Championship,
1 President's Cup,
1 Supercup
  Joško Španjić* January 2017 February 2017
49   Zoran Mamić February 2017 January 2019 1 Championship,
1 President's Cup
  Željko Sopić* January 2019 February 2019
51   Juan Carlos Garrido February 2019 June 2019
52   Ivan Leko June 2019 present

* Served as caretaker coach.

Asian RecordEdit


  • Q : Qualified, GS : Group Stage, R16 : Round of 16, QF : Quarterfinals, SF : Semifinals, RU : Runners-Up, W : Winners
Qualified 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2010 2011 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020

AFC Club RankingsEdit

As of 2019

This is the current AFC coefficient, the rankings are calculated by AFC.[17]

AFC Club Points
1   Al-Hilal 128.48
2   Al Ain 119.855
3   Guangzhou Evergrande 102.409
4   FC Seoul 101
5   Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors 89
6   Al-Duhail 87.368
7   Shanghai SIPG 75.409
8   Urawa Red Diamonds 74.527
9   Al-Ahli 72.48
10   Shabab Al Ahli 68.855

Top scorersEdit

Note: this includes goals scored in all competitions.[18]

No. Nationality Player Goals
1   Ahmed Abdullah 180
2   Asamoah Gyan 128
3   Molim Deen Habeetah 71
4   Majed Al Owais 70
5   Matar Al Sahbani 60
6   Salem Johar 60
7   Seif Sultan 55
8   Abdul Hameed Mohamed 45


  1. ^ a b "club Foundation3". Archived from the original on 1 August 2007. Retrieved 23 June 2014.
  2. ^ "Al Ain look to the future". Fifa.
  3. ^ "40 years of UAE Football". EmaratAlYoum.
  4. ^ "Al Ain "The Boss" with 58 titles". EmaratAlYoum.
  5. ^ a b "The Beginning". Archived from the original on 1 August 2007. Retrieved 1 July 2014.
  6. ^ a b "club Foundation4". Retrieved 4 July 2014.
  7. ^ a b c d "club Foundation5". Archived from the original on 1 August 2007. Retrieved 4 July 2014.
  8. ^ "club Foundation – 2". Archived from the original on 27 March 2005. Retrieved 31 July 2014.
  9. ^ "The honorary board". (in Arabic). Archived from the original on 11 December 2004. Retrieved 13 August 2014.
  10. ^ "first playground". Archived from the original on 1 August 2007. Retrieved 5 July 2014.
  11. ^ "Club Emblem" (in Arabic). Archived from the original on 11 May 2004. Retrieved 2 August 2014.
  12. ^ "The Purple Story". (in Arabic). Archived from the original on 14 January 2010. Retrieved 5 July 2014.
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Club Milestones". Al Ain FC. Archived from the original on 7 March 2016.
  14. ^ "List of Cup Winners". RSSSF.
  15. ^ "List of Champions". RSSSF. Archived from the original on 26 January 2014.
  16. ^ "Joint League" (in Arabic).
  17. ^ "AFC Club Ranking ( 1st December 2017 ) - Global Football Ranks". Global Football Ranks. Retrieved 11 December 2017.
  18. ^ "Top Scorers". Archived from the original on 20 January 2004. Retrieved 17 July 2014.

External linksEdit

Preceded by
Suwon Samsung Bluewings
Champions of Asia
Succeeded by