epa01910710 Atletico Madrid's new coach Spanish Quique Sanchez Flores oberserves his players during a training session at the Vicente Calderon stadium in Madrid, Spain, 26 October 2009, ahead to their Copa del Rey Cup match against Marbella on 27 October. The former coach of Getafe, Valencia and Benfica was presented today after signing a deal to the end of the season with Atletico after Abel Resino was sacked from the team owing to a poor start in La Liga.  EPA/BALLESTEROS
Quique Sanchez Flores is the new coach of Al Ahli.

Sanchez Flores' knack for helping players comes to Al Ahli

Enrique "Quique" Sanchez Flores was born with an unusual view of stardom. Most people pass through a phase when they regard great athletes or actors or performers with awe, Sanchez Flores had worked that out of his system as a very young man. He grew up surrounded by the famous and the adored.

His father had been a footballer with Real Madrid; his mother was a popular singer. As for his aunt … well, mention the name "Lola Flores", fondly known as "La Faraona", to anyon who enjoys flamenco, the passionate music of southern Spain, and you might as well say "Pele" to a Brazilian football fan, or "Cruyff" to a Dutchman.

Several traits in the professional character of Quique - the new manager of Al Ahli is generally called by his nickname - that sometimes make you think of his background and wonder if an innate familiarity with public performers gave him a tough exterior.

He is a well-respected coach, made history at Atletico Madrid, and he is nobody's fool.

Fall out with Quique and it can be a long journey to thaw the relationship.

Just ask Diego Forlan, a vital member of the Atletico team whom Quique guided to three major finals.

Or, rather, listen to the silence when Forlan is asked about his former boss. A few days ago, in Milan, where Forlan now plays for Inter, the Uruguayan answered a question about his relationship with Quique with one word: "Nothing."

If Quique regarded the talented but sometimes demanding Forlan as difficult, he still managed to draw plenty from the striker on the field.

The coach's task is to maximise a player's potential, not to be a buddy. Plenty of fine players have soared under Quique.

At Atletico, Sergio Aguero came of age, boy to man, under his stewardship.

At Portugal's Benfica, where Quique spent a season, he oversaw the resurrection of Jose Antonio Reyes, a former prodigy who lost his way in his early 20s until Quique found the tricks to recover Reyes's confidence.

At Valencia, Quique advanced the career of a young David Silva, now of Manchester City; at Benfica, he was influential in progressing young players like the Portugal international Ruben Amorim and the Uruguayan Maxi Pereira. Manchester United's David de Gea also owes him a debt; at Atletico, Quique backed the novice goalkeeper.

"Quique is a rare breed," said Pablo Aimar, the veteran Argentine playmaker who worked with Quique at Valencia and Benfica. "He's thorough and makes you think about the game differently."

Quique is 46, still young in management terms. He was in his 30s when he took his first senior job, as coach at Getafe.

His preparation had been with the youth teams at Real Madrid, for whom he played in the mid-1990s.

As a footballer, he had been a quick, adventurous right-back. He spent his peak playing years, a full 10 seasons, with Valencia. He was good enough to have been capped 15 times by Spain and was a member of their squad at the 1990 World Cup finals in Italy where they were eliminated in the second round.

As a coach, his 2004/05 Getafe won friends for their brand of football and defied the odds to keep the newly promoted suburban Madrid club in the top flight of Spanish football.

One season there was enough to persuade Valencia to bring in as coach their popular former player.

Valencia are not an easy club to manage, what with their mountainous debt and an apparently incurable habit of behind-the-scenes political tension. Quique survived two seasons and two months there, having achieved the objectives of successive Champions League qualifications, in 2006 and 2007.

With Benfica he would win his first silverware, the Portuguese League Cup.

But it was at Atletico that Quique confirmed his high status among the band of young European coaches.

Appointed in October 2009, he had by the end of the season taken the restless Madrid club to their first European final for 36 years. They triumphed in it, too, beating Fulham in the Europa League. They reached the final of the Copa del Rey the same month, losing to Sevilla.

They then collected the European Super Cup that August with victory over Inter Milan.

The follow-up was not so good. Atletico did qualify for Europe - the Europa League - in Quique's second and last campaign, but he and they knew by early spring that he would not be continuing. Alternative offers have come his way since, notably from Spartak Moscow and, by his account, there was an enquiry from Inter in September.

Most clubs from Europe's stronger leagues would feel obliged to consider him a candidate when vacancies arise. So his choice of Al Ahli has surprised some compatriots.

"It confirms the powerful draw of the world's emerging leagues in a time of economic crisis," was the analysis of a newspaper in Valencia, where Quique, once the dashing defender, will always have a fan club.

Turning waste into fuel

Average amount of biofuel produced at DIC factory every month: Approximately 106,000 litres

Amount of biofuel produced from 1 litre of used cooking oil: 920ml (92%)

Time required for one full cycle of production from used cooking oil to biofuel: One day

Energy requirements for one cycle of production from 1,000 litres of used cooking oil:
▪ Electricity - 1.1904 units
▪ Water- 31 litres
▪ Diesel – 26.275 litres

Brief scores:

Barcelona 3

Pique 38', Messi 51 (pen), Suarez 82'

Rayo Vallecano 1

De Tomas Gomez 24'


Kolkata Knight Riders 169-7 (20 ovs)
Rajasthan Royals 144-4 (20 ovs)

Kolkata win by 25 runs

Next match

Sunrisers Hyderabad v Kolkata Knight Riders, Friday, 5.30pm

Inside Out 2

Director: Kelsey Mann

Starring: Amy Poehler, Maya Hawke, Ayo Edebiri

Rating: 4.5/5

if you go

The flights

Etihad flies direct from Abu Dhabi to San Francisco from Dh5,760 return including taxes.

The car

Etihad Guest members get a 10 per cent worldwide discount when booking with Hertz, as well as earning miles on their rentals (more at www.hertz.com/etihad). A week's car hire costs from Dh1,500 including taxes.

The hotels

Along the route, Motel 6 (www.motel6.com) offers good value and comfort, with rooms from $55 (Dh202) per night including taxes. In Portland, the Jupiter Hotel (https://jupiterhotel.com/) has rooms from $165 (Dh606) per night including taxes. The Society Hotel https://thesocietyhotel.com/ has rooms from $130 (Dh478) per night including taxes.

More info

To keep up with constant developments in Portland, visit www.travelportland.com

Our legal consultant

Name: Dr Hassan Mohsen Elhais

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

The Africa Institute 101

Housed on the same site as the original Africa Hall, which first hosted an Arab-African Symposium in 1976, the newly renovated building will be home to a think tank and postgraduate studies hub (it will offer master’s and PhD programmes). The centre will focus on both the historical and contemporary links between Africa and the Gulf, and will serve as a meeting place for conferences, symposia, lectures, film screenings, plays, musical performances and more. In fact, today it is hosting a symposium – 5-plus-1: Rethinking Abstraction that will look at the six decades of Frank Bowling’s career, as well as those of his contemporaries that invested social, cultural and personal meaning into abstraction. 

Apple Mac through the years

1984 - Apple unveiled the Macintosh on January 24
1985 - Steve Jobs departed from Apple and established NeXT
1986 - Apple introduced the Macintosh Plus, featuring enhanced memory
1987 - Apple launched the Macintosh II, equipped with colour capabilities
1989 - The widely acclaimed Macintosh SE/30 made its debut
1994 - Apple presented the Power Macintosh
1996 - The Macintosh System Software OS underwent a rebranding as Mac OS
2001 - Apple introduced Mac OS X, marrying Unix stability with a user-friendly interface
2006 - Apple adopted Intel processors in MacBook Pro laptops
2008 - Apple introduced the MacBook Air, a lightweight laptop
2012 - Apple launched the MacBook Pro with a retina display
2016 - The Mac operating system underwent rebranding as macOS
2020 - Apple introduced the M1 chip for Macs, combining high performance and energy efficiency
2022 - The M2 chip was announced
2023 -The M3 line-up of chip was announced to improve performance and add new capabilities for Mac.


Company name: Revibe
Started: 2022
Founders: Hamza Iraqui and Abdessamad Ben Zakour
Based: UAE
Industry: Refurbished electronics
Funds raised so far: $10m
Investors: Flat6Labs, Resonance and various others


Director: Nikhil Nagesh Bhat

Starring: Lakshya, Tanya Maniktala, Ashish Vidyarthi, Harsh Chhaya, Raghav Juyal

Rating: 4.5/5

The burning issue

The internal combustion engine is facing a watershed moment – major manufacturer Volvo is to stop producing petroleum-powered vehicles by 2021 and countries in Europe, including the UK, have vowed to ban their sale before 2040. The National takes a look at the story of one of the most successful technologies of the last 100 years and how it has impacted life in the UAE.

Part three: an affection for classic cars lives on

Read part two: how climate change drove the race for an alternative 

Read part one: how cars came to the UAE

The specs

Engine: 2.3-litre 4cyl turbo
Power: 299hp at 5,500rpm
Torque: 420Nm at 2,750rpm
Transmission: 10-speed auto
Fuel consumption: 12.4L/100km
On sale: Now
Price: From Dh157,395 (XLS); Dh199,395 (Limited)

Company profile

Company name: Fasset
Started: 2019
Founders: Mohammad Raafi Hossain, Daniel Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech
Initial investment: $2.45 million
Current number of staff: 86
Investment stage: Pre-series B
Investors: Investcorp, Liberty City Ventures, Fatima Gobi Ventures, Primal Capital, Wealthwell Ventures, FHS Capital, VN2 Capital, local family offices

Know before you go
  • Jebel Akhdar is a two-hour drive from Muscat airport or a six-hour drive from Dubai. It’s impossible to visit by car unless you have a 4x4. Phone ahead to the hotel to arrange a transfer.
  • If you’re driving, make sure your insurance covers Oman.
  • By air: Budget airlines Air Arabia, Flydubai and SalamAir offer direct routes to Muscat from the UAE.
  • Tourists from the Emirates (UAE nationals not included) must apply for an Omani visa online before arrival at evisa.rop.gov.om. The process typically takes several days.
  • Flash floods are probable due to the terrain and a lack of drainage. Always check the weather before venturing into any canyons or other remote areas and identify a plan of escape that includes high ground, shelter and parking where your car won’t be overtaken by sudden downpours.


Our legal consultant

Name: Dr Hassan Mohsen Elhais

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


Scotland 59 (Tries: Hastings (2), G Horne (3), Turner, Seymour, Barclay, Kinghorn, McInally; Cons: Hastings 8)

Russia 0

UAE athletes heading to Paris 2024

Abdullah Humaid Al Muhairi, Abdullah Al Marri, Omar Al Marzooqi, Salem Al Suwaidi, and Ali Al Karbi (four to be selected).
Men: Narmandakh Bayanmunkh (66kg), Nugzari Tatalashvili (81kg), Aram Grigorian (90kg), Dzhafar Kostoev (100kg), Magomedomar Magomedomarov (+100kg); women's Khorloodoi Bishrelt (52kg).

Safia Al Sayegh (women's road race).

Men: Yousef Rashid Al Matroushi (100m freestyle); women: Maha Abdullah Al Shehi (200m freestyle).

Maryam Mohammed Al Farsi (women's 100 metres).

Director: Nag Ashwin

Starring: Prabhas, Saswata Chatterjee, Deepika Padukone, Amitabh Bachchan, Shobhana

Rating: ★★★★

Alita: Battle Angel

Director: Robert Rodriguez

Stars: Rosa Salazar, Christoph Waltz, Keean Johnson

Four stars

The specs

Engine: 3.5-litre twin-turbo V6

Power: 380hp at 5,800rpm

Torque: 530Nm at 1,300-4,500rpm

Transmission: Eight-speed auto

Price: From Dh299,000 ($81,415)

On sale: Now


Director: Meshal Al Jaser

Starring: Adwa Bader, Yazeed Almajyul, Khalid Bin Shaddad

Rating: 4/5

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