Abu Dhabi — Shortly after Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al-Nahyan, a senior member of Abu Dhabi’s ruling family, stunned English football in 2008 by acquiring Manchester City for £150m, nervousness set in among the emirate’s top brass.

Sulaiman al-Fahim, the flamboyant Emirati who had brokered the sale, was bragging about Sheikh Mansour’s deep pockets while himself living the stereotypical playboy life, driving flashy sports cars and socialising with celebrities including Pamela Anderson of Baywatch fame. As the headlines mounted, Fahim was sidelined as Abu Dhabi sought to shift the narrative.

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