Salgado dreams of discovering the next Messi in UAE

Salgado dreams of discovering the next Messi in UAE
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Published September 30th, 2015 - 22:31 GMT via

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Salgado looking for a superstar in the UAE
Salgado looking for a superstar in the UAE

Former Real Madrid defender Michel Salgado said it was his dream to discover the next Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo in the UAE at the launch of the Du Football Champions tournament at the Address Hotel, Downtown Dubai on Tuesday.

The 15-week seven-a-side tournament in association with Spain’s La Liga will see 8000 11-17 year-olds of all nationalities across 500 teams from 200 schools nationwide battle it out from November 17 to March 19.

The winning team and selected talents will then fly to Spain for a specialist training camp in Marbella where they will take on youth teams from Malaga, Cordoba, Sevilla and Cadiz next July.

“I had a lot of dreams when I was a kid,” said tournament director Salgado, 39, who made over 250 appearances for Real Madrid between 1999 and 2009, winning two Uefa Champions League titles in 2000 and 2002. “But now I’ve got another dream and that’s to try and find the next Messi and Ronaldo, to find a new Emirati star, that’s my dream right now.

“I will be there for all the kids supporting them and handpicking the best talent to give them training to get into real football. I’m really glad that La Liga is with us because they have a great network of coaches and facilities to give our kids great exposure and expertise to go forward and achieve what we want.”

Fernando Sanz, the director of La Liga Middle East and North Africa, who also made 35 appearances in the heart of Real Madrid’s defence from 1996 to 1999, said he was confident there were talents waiting to be discovered.

“This initiative reflects our faith in the talent of the UAE and our commitment to offer the best young footballers here a unique opportunity to up their game to world class standards.

“La Liga stands for football excellency, determination, passion, and making dreams come true. That is why it is one of the most celebrated leagues worldwide with the most successful clubs and players. Michel Salgado is an example of that and with this partnership we are waiting for the next Messi or Ronaldo to emerge from the UAE,” he said.

The tournament is supported by Dubai and Abu Dhabi Sports Council, Abu Dhabi Sports TV, Chevrolet, Inspiratus and the UAE Football Association.

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