Luis Suarez celebrates scoring Barcelona's decisive second goal during their 2-1 victory over Real Madrid on March 22. David Ramos / Getty
Luis Suarez celebrates scoring Barcelona's decisive second goal during their 2-1 victory over Real Madrid on March 22. David Ramos / Getty

Diego Forlan: My friend Luis Suarez becoming a success at Barcleona is nothing less than he deserves



Being proud of him as a friend and also as a Uruguayan, I congratulated Luis Suarez after he scored the winner in el clasico against Real Madrid last ­weekend.

We live on opposite sides of the world, but we talk a lot. He was genuinely happy in Liverpool and had a real affection for that club, but the Barcelona move was right for him.

A change was good for him at that time and he moved to a city he knew well, one where his in-laws lived and where Spanish is spoken.

And it was Barca, playing with some of the best players in the world. Which player would not be attracted to that?

He took time to settle at Barcelona because he’s human and needed to adapt and know his new teammates and new life.

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Not being able to play because he was banned didn’t help him, but once he returned in October’s clasico he began to build a rhythm and get used to a new role in the team.

In Liverpool he played on his own as the main striker or with a player behind him as he does for Uruguay. He had space.

For Barca, there are three strikers and opponents play deeper. There’s little space for strikers and he’s adapted well.

By the clasico on Sunday he had become an important Barca player, with several important goals and assists. He’s assisted more than he’s scored, that has been a change to his game.

If he’s taken attention away from Neymar and Messi, then that helps Barca.

Luis joined a club in transition who didn’t win anything last year. This season, they look better and he’s been a success.

You might think that Barca didn’t need a goalscorer, but Luis brings something different to their team.

Different goals and assists because he’s a different type of player from Neymar and Messi. He’s a team player, too, one who values an assist.

The strikers all get on well, which is important and not always the case, but it doesn’t surprise me that three South Americans are friends.

Luis is from Salto, right on the border with Argentina and not far from Brazil. It’s a city of only 100,000, but he and Edinson Cavani are both from Salto.

Is there another city so small which has produced two world-class strikers? Pedro Virgilio Rocha, a legendary Uruguayan player who played with my father, also came from Salto.

I knew Luis had great potential from when I first played against him in a warm-up game when he was in Uruguay’s Under 20s as they prepared for their World Cup in Canada.

I could see his talent, he was outstanding then, but I didn’t properly speak to him until he made his full Uruguay debut.

He was a little shy, as players are when they join a new team, but I could see that he was a nice guy.

When I first started speaking to him I could see that he was polite, respectful and keen to learn. We had a very good connection on and off the pitch.

He’s had major ups and downs in his career and I’ve seen some close at hand.

In the 2010 World Cup, he came to me. He was down and frustrated because he’d not scored in the opening two games against France and South Africa.

Yet he was playing well and contributing to our success, that was the most important thing. He’d see that now, but he didn’t then. He thought that goals were the only thing that mattered.

I encouraged him and he scored in our third game, the only goal against Mexico.

People often ask me what Luis is like. I tell them that he’s a fighter on the pitch who wants to win all the time. He’ll argue and do everything he can within the laws of he game to win.

He is not a player who thinks that football should be played by men wearing white gloves; he knows it can be a hard and aggressive game.

Off the field? He’s a quiet family man with his wife Sofia and daughter. He’s close to his brother, too.

He spent a lot of time with them at the start of this season because he couldn’t play for his club and country.

Not playing could help him at the end of the season. He’ll be fresher because he hasn’t travelled so much or played as many games as other players and Barca, rather than Uruguay (he is still serving an international ban), should benefit from that.

DIEGO SAYS WATCH OUT FOR....

Guido Carrillo

Most leagues are taking an international break from football, but not in Argentina. Almost all their national players work in Europe so there’s no point stopping the domestic league. Boca Juniors play Estudiantes this weekend, two teams who have been South American and world champions. Boca remain one of the best teams in South America and were the first to qualify for the last 16 of the Copa Libertadores. While their rivals River Plate struggle, Boca have won all four group games so far. Estudiantes, with Juan Sebastian Veron as chairman, are a renewed force. They have also done well in the Copa Libertadores, which they won in 2009. Striker Guido Carrillo, 23, is a big No 9 who will do well in Europe. He knows how to play in the box, he turns and heads well. A really good player. Watch out for him.

MORE FROM DIEGO FORLAN

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First-round leaderbaord

-5 C Conners (Can)

-3 B Koepka (US), K Bradley (US), V Hovland (Nor), A Wise (US), S Horsfield (Eng), C Davis (Aus);

-2 C Morikawa (US), M Laird (Sco), C Tringale (US)

Selected others: -1 P Casey (Eng), R Fowler (US), T Hatton (Eng)

Level B DeChambeau (US), J Rose (Eng) 

+1 L Westwood (Eng), J Spieth (US)

+3 R McIlroy (NI)

+4 D Johnson (US)

Mercer, the investment consulting arm of US services company Marsh & McLennan, expects its wealth division to at least double its assets under management (AUM) in the Middle East as wealth in the region continues to grow despite economic headwinds, a company official said.

Mercer Wealth, which globally has $160 billion in AUM, plans to boost its AUM in the region to $2-$3bn in the next 2-3 years from the present $1bn, said Yasir AbuShaban, a Dubai-based principal with Mercer Wealth.

Within the next two to three years, we are looking at reaching $2 to $3 billion as a conservative estimate and we do see an opportunity to do so,” said Mr AbuShaban.

Mercer does not directly make investments, but allocates clients’ money they have discretion to, to professional asset managers. They also provide advice to clients.

“We have buying power. We can negotiate on their (client’s) behalf with asset managers to provide them lower fees than they otherwise would have to get on their own,” he added.

Mercer Wealth’s clients include sovereign wealth funds, family offices, and insurance companies among others.

From its office in Dubai, Mercer also looks after Africa, India and Turkey, where they also see opportunity for growth.

Wealth creation in Middle East and Africa (MEA) grew 8.5 per cent to $8.1 trillion last year from $7.5tn in 2015, higher than last year’s global average of 6 per cent and the second-highest growth in a region after Asia-Pacific which grew 9.9 per cent, according to consultancy Boston Consulting Group (BCG). In the region, where wealth grew just 1.9 per cent in 2015 compared with 2014, a pickup in oil prices has helped in wealth generation.

BCG is forecasting MEA wealth will rise to $12tn by 2021, growing at an annual average of 8 per cent.

Drivers of wealth generation in the region will be split evenly between new wealth creation and growth of performance of existing assets, according to BCG.

Another general trend in the region is clients’ looking for a comprehensive approach to investing, according to Mr AbuShaban.

“Institutional investors or some of the families are seeing a slowdown in the available capital they have to invest and in that sense they are looking at optimizing the way they manage their portfolios and making sure they are not investing haphazardly and different parts of their investment are working together,” said Mr AbuShaban.

Some clients also have a higher appetite for risk, given the low interest-rate environment that does not provide enough yield for some institutional investors. These clients are keen to invest in illiquid assets, such as private equity and infrastructure.

“What we have seen is a desire for higher returns in what has been a low-return environment specifically in various fixed income or bonds,” he said.

“In this environment, we have seen a de facto increase in the risk that clients are taking in things like illiquid investments, private equity investments, infrastructure and private debt, those kind of investments were higher illiquidity results in incrementally higher returns.”

The Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, one of the largest sovereign wealth funds, said in its 2016 report that has gradually increased its exposure in direct private equity and private credit transactions, mainly in Asian markets and especially in China and India. The authority’s private equity department focused on structured equities owing to “their defensive characteristics.”

UAE SQUAD

 

Goalkeepers: Ali Khaseif, Fahad Al Dhanhani, Mohammed Al Shamsi, Adel Al Hosani

Defenders: Bandar Al Ahbabi, Shaheen Abdulrahman, Walid Abbas, Mahmoud Khamis, Mohammed Barghash, Khalifa Al Hammadi, Hassan Al Mahrami, Yousef Jaber, Mohammed Al Attas

Midfielders: Ali Salmeen, Abdullah Ramadan, Abdullah Al Naqbi, Majed Hassan, Abdullah Hamad, Khalfan Mubarak, Khalil Al Hammadi, Tahnoun Al Zaabi, Harib Abdallah, Mohammed Jumah

Forwards: Fabio De Lima, Caio Canedo, Ali Saleh, Ali Mabkhout, Sebastian Tagliabue

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Xpanceo

Started: 2018

Founders: Roman Axelrod, Valentyn Volkov

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Smart contact lenses, augmented/virtual reality

Funding: $40 million

Investor: Opportunity Venture (Asia)

UAE currency: the story behind the money in your pockets
COMPANY PROFILE

Company: Eco Way
Started: December 2023
Founder: Ivan Kroshnyi
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: Electric vehicles
Investors: Bootstrapped with undisclosed funding. Looking to raise funds from outside

Our family matters legal consultant

Name: Hassan Mohsen Elhais

Position: legal consultant with Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultants.

The specs: 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLA

Price, base / as tested Dh150,900 / Dh173,600

Engine 2.0L inline four-cylinder

Transmission Seven-speed automatic

Power 211hp @ 5,500rpm

Torque 350Nm @ 1,200rpm

Fuel economy, combined 6.4L / 100km

Imperial Island: A History of Empire in Modern Britain

Author: Charlotte Lydia Riley
Publisher: Bodley Head
Pages: 384

The Meg
Director: Jon Turteltaub
Starring:   
Two stars

KEY DATES IN AMAZON'S HISTORY

July 5, 1994: Jeff Bezos founds Cadabra Inc, which would later be renamed to Amazon.com, because his lawyer misheard the name as 'cadaver'. In its earliest days, the bookstore operated out of a rented garage in Bellevue, Washington

July 16, 1995: Amazon formally opens as an online bookseller. Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought becomes the first item sold on Amazon

1997: Amazon goes public at $18 a share, which has grown about 1,000 per cent at present. Its highest closing price was $197.85 on June 27, 2024

1998: Amazon acquires IMDb, its first major acquisition. It also starts selling CDs and DVDs

2000: Amazon Marketplace opens, allowing people to sell items on the website

2002: Amazon forms what would become Amazon Web Services, opening the Amazon.com platform to all developers. The cloud unit would follow in 2006

2003: Amazon turns in an annual profit of $75 million, the first time it ended a year in the black

2005: Amazon Prime is introduced, its first-ever subscription service that offered US customers free two-day shipping for $79 a year

2006: Amazon Unbox is unveiled, the company's video service that would later morph into Amazon Instant Video and, ultimately, Amazon Video

2007: Amazon's first hardware product, the Kindle e-reader, is introduced; the Fire TV and Fire Phone would come in 2014. Grocery service Amazon Fresh is also started

2009: Amazon introduces Amazon Basics, its in-house label for a variety of products

2010: The foundations for Amazon Studios were laid. Its first original streaming content debuted in 2013

2011: The Amazon Appstore for Google's Android is launched. It is still unavailable on Apple's iOS

2014: The Amazon Echo is launched, a speaker that acts as a personal digital assistant powered by Alexa

2017: Amazon acquires Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, its biggest acquisition

2018: Amazon's market cap briefly crosses the $1 trillion mark, making it, at the time, only the third company to achieve that milestone

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: SmartCrowd
Started: 2018
Founder: Siddiq Farid and Musfique Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech / PropTech
Initial investment: $650,000
Current number of staff: 35
Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Various institutional investors and notable angel investors (500 MENA, Shurooq, Mada, Seedstar, Tricap)

Mercedes-AMG GT 63 S E Performance: the specs

Engine: 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 plus rear-mounted electric motor

Power: 843hp at N/A rpm

Torque: 1470Nm N/A rpm

Transmission: 9-speed auto

Fuel consumption: 8.6L/100km

On sale: October to December

Price: From Dh875,000+(estimate)

GOODBYE JULIA

Director: Mohamed Kordofani

Starring: Siran Riak, Eiman Yousif, Nazar Goma

Rating: 5/5

Drishyam 2

Directed by: Jeethu Joseph

Starring: Mohanlal, Meena, Ansiba, Murali Gopy

Rating: 4 stars

The specs

Price: From Dh180,000 (estimate)

Engine: 2.0-litre turbocharged and supercharged in-line four-cylinder

Transmission: Eight-speed automatic

Power: 320hp @ 5,700rpm

Torque: 400Nm @ 2,200rpm

Fuel economy, combined: 9.7L / 100km

Ruwais timeline

1971 Abu Dhabi National Oil Company established

1980 Ruwais Housing Complex built, located 10 kilometres away from industrial plants

1982 120,000 bpd capacity Ruwais refinery complex officially inaugurated by the founder of the UAE Sheikh Zayed

1984 Second phase of Ruwais Housing Complex built. Today the 7,000-unit complex houses some 24,000 people.  

1985 The refinery is expanded with the commissioning of a 27,000 b/d hydro cracker complex

2009 Plans announced to build $1.2 billion fertilizer plant in Ruwais, producing urea

2010 Adnoc awards $10bn contracts for expansion of Ruwais refinery, to double capacity from 415,000 bpd

2014 Ruwais 261-outlet shopping mall opens

2014 Production starts at newly expanded Ruwais refinery, providing jet fuel and diesel and allowing the UAE to be self-sufficient for petrol supplies

2014 Etihad Rail begins transportation of sulphur from Shah and Habshan to Ruwais for export

2017 Aldar Academies to operate Adnoc’s schools including in Ruwais from September. Eight schools operate in total within the housing complex.

2018 Adnoc announces plans to invest $3.1 billion on upgrading its Ruwais refinery 

2018 NMC Healthcare selected to manage operations of Ruwais Hospital

2018 Adnoc announces new downstream strategy at event in Abu Dhabi on May 13

Source: The National

Tips for job-seekers
  • Do not submit your application through the Easy Apply button on LinkedIn. Employers receive between 600 and 800 replies for each job advert on the platform. If you are the right fit for a job, connect to a relevant person in the company on LinkedIn and send them a direct message.
  • Make sure you are an exact fit for the job advertised. If you are an HR manager with five years’ experience in retail and the job requires a similar candidate with five years’ experience in consumer, you should apply. But if you have no experience in HR, do not apply for the job.

David Mackenzie, founder of recruitment agency Mackenzie Jones Middle East

Company Profile

Name: HyveGeo
Started: 2023
Founders: Abdulaziz bin Redha, Dr Samsurin Welch, Eva Morales and Dr Harjit Singh
Based: Cambridge and Dubai
Number of employees: 8
Industry: Sustainability & Environment
Funding: $200,000 plus undisclosed grant
Investors: Venture capital and government

MATCH INFO

Uefa Champions League final:

Who: Real Madrid v Liverpool
Where: NSC Olimpiyskiy Stadium, Kiev, Ukraine
When: Saturday, May 26, 10.45pm (UAE)
TV: Match on BeIN Sports

Teri Baaton Mein Aisa Uljha Jiya

Directors: Amit Joshi and Aradhana Sah

Cast: Shahid Kapoor, Kriti Sanon, Dharmendra, Dimple Kapadia, Rakesh Bedi

Rating: 4/5

Our legal consultant

Name: Dr Hassan Mohsen Elhais

Position: legal consultant with Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultants.

The specs: Taycan Turbo GT

Engine: Dual synchronous electric motors
Power: 1,108hp
Torque: 1,340Nm
Transmission: Single-speed automatic (front axle); two-speed transmission (rear axle)
Touring range: 488-560km
Price: From Dh928,400
On sale: Orders open

The Color Purple

Director: Blitz Bazawule
Starring: Fantasia Barrino, Taraji P Henson, Danielle Brooks, Colman Domingo
Rating: 4/5

BIRD BOX BARCELONA

Directors: David and Alex Pastor
Stars: Georgina Campbell, Mario Casas, Diego Calva
Rating: 2/5

Cry Macho

Director: Clint Eastwood

Stars: Clint Eastwood, Dwight Yoakam

Rating:**

Specs

Power train: 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 and synchronous electric motor
Max power: 800hp
Max torque: 950Nm
Transmission: Eight-speed auto
Battery: 25.7kWh lithium-ion
0-100km/h: 3.4sec
0-200km/h: 11.4sec
Top speed: 312km/h
Max electric-only range: 60km (claimed)
On sale: Q3
Price: From Dh1.2m (estimate)

UAE squad

Ali Kashief, Salem Rashid, Khalifa Al Hammadi, Khalfan Mubarak, Ali Mabkhout, Omar Abdelrahman, Mohammed Al Attas (Al Jazira), Mohmmed Al Shamsi, Hamdan Al Kamali, Mohammad Barghash, Khalil Al Hammadi (Al Wahda), Khalid Eisa, Mohammed Shakir, Ahmed Barman, Bandar Al Ahbabi (Al Ain), Adel Al Hosani, Al Hassan Saleh, Majid Suroor (Sharjah), Waleed Abbas, Ismail Al Hammadi, Ahmed Khalil (Shabab Al Ahli Dubai) Habib Fardan, Tariq Ahmed, Mohammed Al Akbari (Al Nasr), Ali Saleh, Ali Salmeen (Al Wasl), Hassan Al Mahrami (Baniyas)

Company profile

Name: Maly Tech
Started: 2023
Founder: Mo Ibrahim
Based: Dubai International Financial Centre
Sector: FinTech
Funds raised: $1.6 million
Current number of staff: 15
Investment stage: Pre-seed, planning first seed round
Investors: GCC-based angel investors


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