The Manchester City footballer and captain of the Algeria national team shares his top travel tips and goals.
You’ve recently visited Abu Dhabi. What are your impressions of the emirate?
It’s amazing. The culture is different, and the people are so nice. I think it’s a top area to come and spend time in – it’s one of my favourite places to visit. The weather is great in the winter, the food is halal, and so everything is good for me – I can go everywhere and eat whatever I want when I’m there.
Have you got any upcoming travel plans?
Mecca is something special. You can feel it when you arrive there. I’m Muslim and religious, so when I go there I’m happy and I just feel really good. I think I will go again this year, I’ve already been there a few times, but it’s been around four years since my last visit, so I’m planning to go back this year.
Which is the destination that is currently on your bucket list?
I’ve travelled to several countries with football – many places in Africa, the Middle East as well as America…but less of South America. I’ve been to Brazil for the World Cup, but otherwise, it’s an area that I’ve never explored, so I’d like to see more of South America.
How do you spend your time on a flight?
We really love travelling with Etihad Airways, the facilities are amazing on the plane. I try to sleep to make the most of the time and be fresh when I land, but otherwise, I watch a movie and have a drink – either Coke or water. The most important thing as a footballer is the sleep and the food.
Who are the best teammates to travel with?
There are a few players like Kyle Walker, Jack Grealish and some others that like to play games and spend time together during our flights, so I enjoy travelling with them. Some other players, Nathan Ake for example, like to put headphones straight on and watch a movie before we’ve even taken off.
What are the three things that you always pack in your suitcase?
My clothes, sunglasses and flip-flops.
At what point did you know that becoming a professional footballer was a viable path for you?
I always strongly believed that I would be a footballer and I did everything I could to make sure I arrived at this point.
What’s been the biggest career highlight?
Every time we lift trophies.
What would life after you finish playing professionally look like?
I don’t really think about life after playing football. This is all I ever wanted to do, and I think I have more playing years. Afterwards, we will see what the future holds.