Real Madrid to open academy in Muscat
The club and Global First Step Oman, a Muscat-based logistics firm, are currently in talks over the modalities of setting up the academy and hope to get the support of the Ministry of Sports Affairs for the venture.
The academy aims to target players in the age-group of 6-18 and hopes to launch its operations in September. Among the activities lined up by the club before the start of the academy are a friendly between Real Madrid legends and a select Oman team and a week-long clinic in July.
Officials of the Spanish football giant were in Muscat this week for discussions regarding the academy and one of them, former Real Madrid footballer and current coach of its U15 team, Ruben de la Red Gutiérrez, confirmed the initiative to Muscat Daily.
Ruben, who is expected to take charge of the academy, said, “The academy will come here with the famous Real Madrid philosophy. We will bring along the club's main concept - vision, commitment, ambition and attitude.” Ruben, who was a member of Spain's European Championship winning team in 2008, added that representatives of the club had visited Muscat last month too in this regard.
“This is my first visit to Oman though the club's representatives had visited Muscat last month,” he said. “I am really impressed by the country's tremendous passion for football. There are good facilities here. What I like the most is that youngsters want to improve their game. It provides the right atmosphere for us to begin an academy.”
Rayco Garcia, a representative of the club’s international relations department, said, “We are hopeful of making this project a big success. The message is clear - we are here to launch the academy. Ruben is the best person to spot talent and I am sure that Oman has enough of that. We aim to have Omani talent play in Europe in the future.”
Rashid al Mabsali, chairman of Global First Step Oman which organised the visits of the Real Madrid officials, said that the ‘dream is to have Oman produce world-class players from one of the best academies in the world’.
“We wrote to Real Madrid a year ago,” he said. “After a series of discussions, the club officials made their first visit last month. This was followed by a visit by an Oman TV delegation to the club’s facilities in Madrid. We now hope the Ministry of Sports Affairs will back the project.”
Real Madrid runs a number of academies across the world, including one in Dubai. Known as the Castilla, they have produced stars such as Raul, Guti and the goalkeeper of Spain, Iker Casillas.