The emergence of the Middle East’s interest in football has been sent shockwaves throughout the game in the last twelve months.
Huge investments have been made into raising the profile of the sport in Middle Eastern countries, with Saudi Arabia leading the way in tempting players to their developing leagues.
The United Arab Emirates are also covering football like never before and have found a pundit who bears an incredible resemblance to former Manchester United captain, Gary Neville.
As reported by The Daily Star, it didn’t take long for the image of the doppelganger to go viral, with fans jesting that Neville had swapped his job at Sky for a role in the Middle East!
Social media users were typically quick-witted with their comments.
One fan wrote “Love the idea of Neville sneaking off to Abu Dhabi every few days behind his family’s back just to get his punditry fix lol”.
Another joked: “I wonder if he’s blaming the Glazers for everything too.” With a third dubbing him “Garab Neville.”
Since retiring with eight Premier League titles and over 600 appearances for United, Neville has become the lead man on Sky Sports.
The former England centre-back has sparked an unlikely relationship with Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher, with the pair regularly debating incidents across the Premier League.
As it transpired the look-a-like’s actual name is Hassan Ibrahim, a former footballer and now technical analyst on Abu Dhabi’s chief sports channel, AD Sports.
Ibrahim covers the UAE division as part of the channel’s coverage of the Middle Eastern leagues, as well as matches in Italy’s Serie A, Australia’s A-League, and the USA’s MLS.
Neville was last spotted on Sky forming part of the coverage of Newcastle United’s controversial weekend win against Arsenal.