The stars of Manchester City said goodbye to the paradisiacal surroundings of Abu Dhabi and returned to a soggy England on Monday morning after a week of warm weather training.
And Raheem Sterling and Kevin De Bruyne were handed a double dose of reality when they arrived back at the Etihad Campus, where they had kept their cars during the trip.
Sterling and De Bruyne both found themselves leaning out of the windows of their swanky motors as the barrier at the world-class training headquarters refused to let them leave.
Raheem Sterling winds down his window and leans out into the rain to activate the intercom
Sterling found himself shut inside the Etihad Campus when the parking barrier refused to open
Kevin De Bruyne soon suffered the same fate as his Manchester City team-mate
The Belgian playmaker was forced to open the door in order to reach the button
MAN CITY FIXTURES
Premier League unless stated
Wednesday Huddersfield Town (H)
FA Cup fifth round replay
March 5 Sunderland (A)
March 11 Stoke City (H)
*will be rearranged if City progress in FA Cup
March 15 Monaco (A)
Champions League last-16, second leg
March 19 Liverpool (H)
April 1 Arsenal (A)
Eventually, the problem was sorted and the two international stars were able to make their way home after what has probably been a relaxing week in the Middle East.
Pep Guardiola took advantage of a blank fixture list over the weekend to whisk his stars away from the wind-lashed surroundings of Manchester but they must now face up to a mad March.
They will next take to the field on Wednesday in their FA Cup fifth round replay against Championship side Huddersfield.
If they win, they will face three straight away games across three competitions against Sunderland (Premier League), Middlesbrough (FA Cup) and Monaco (Champions League).
The results of those fixtures will go a long way to defining their season.
Ahead of CIty’s replay against Huddersfield, Fernandinho insists the FA Cup remains a priority
Midfielder Fernandinho, however, has urged his team-mates to focus solely on their next tie against Huddersfield, telling City’s official website: ‘If we win we are in the quarter-finals and after that we can be at Wembley.
‘It’s extremely important because the FA Cup it’s a beautiful competition and we want to go as far as possible.
‘The support of our fans in the FA Cup will be very important. For us the aim is to be in the final.’