Iker Casillas, Spain’s World Cup winner, plans to open goalkeepers’ academy in Dubai

Football - Casillas in DSC
Iker Casillas (second left) hands over his Spain team shirt as a souvenir to Nasser Aman Al Rahma, Assistant Secretary General and Ali Omar, Director of Sports Development during his visit to Dubai Sports Council headquarters. Michel Salgado, Casillas’ compatriot and a former Real Madrid player, is on far left. Image Credit: Supplied photo

Dubai: Iker Casillas, much decorated Spanish goalkeeper and one of the biggest Real Madrid stars in recent years, said that success of compatriot Michel Salgado’s academy in Dubai has encouraged him to open his own academy here as a center for the development of goalkeepers in the UAE and the region.

The 2010 World Cup winner, who is also the owner of back-to-back Euro Championship medals in 2008 and 2012, visited the Dubai Sports Council premises with friend Salgado. They were received by Nasser Aman Al Rahma, Assistant Secretary General of the council and Ali Omar, Director of Sports Development Department.

During a meeting, they discussed investment opportunities in Dubai, especially in the sport sector as Al Rahma assured the Spanish star that there are all facilities for investment projects in Dubai, especifically sports academies, as there are already more than 300 academies in Dubai in various sports in addition to the presence of communities from more than 200 countries.

Casillas revealed that he plans to open his first goalkeepers’ academy outside the city of Madrid in Dubai because of its ‘‘prestigious global position’’ in the field of sport, tourism and a happy lifestyle apart from the excellent infra-srtucture.

Al Rahma, the Assistant Secretary General of the Dubai Sports Council briefed the former Spanish goalkeeper about the health of sport in Dubai and the efforts of the Dubai Sports Council in spreading the practice of sport and developing talent as well as organising various sporting more than 400 events annually. Casillas also toured the council’s headquarters and visited the innovation laboratory and conference hall. A formal announcement of the Iker Casillas Academy, in cooperation with the Dubai Sports Council, is expected during the next few months.

Al Rahma presented the Spanish star with a copy of the English version of “My Story” by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai. Casillas, in turn, presented his Spanish national team and Real Madrid shirts and goalkeeping gloves.