29 March 2012
Diego Jabalquinto (Ras al-Khaima) / Translation by Michael J. O'Donnell
Real Madrid President Florentino Perez and His Highness Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr Al Qassimi, Emir of Ras al-Khaimah, presided over the laying of the foundation stone of the Real Madrid Resort Island, a holiday resort to be developed in the United Arab Emirates. It is expected to have one million visitors per year and will house a theme park, the first stadium open to sea, numerous sports facilities, a sports port, a residencial area and luxury hotels. One billion dollars have been invested in the project.
Real Madrid Board Member Nicolas Martin-Sanz, Director General Jose Angel Sanchez, Director of Institutional Relations Emilio Butragueño and First Team Director Zinedine Zidane were also in attendance. Over 200 guests and close to 100 media platforms from all over the world gathered in the event.
The objective is to open the resort in 2015 as the first holoday sports resort in Asia. Florentino Perez, His Highness the Sheikh, RAK Participations and RAK Marjan Island Football CEO Louis Armand de Rouge, and Ras al-Khaimah Representative and RAK Investment Authority CEO Dr. Khater Massaad addressed those attending the event. Following the act, the Emir received the entire Real Madrid delegation in his palace for a pleasant luncheon.
"Our club was born 110 years ago and it gradually became a universal legend. Real Madrid resort Island fits perfectly into our institution's global aspirations because we at Real Madrid firmly believe that frontiers shouldn't exist in football, nor in sports in general. We want to turn this splendind part of the world into a place that serves to make people from different nationalities come together through their fascination for sport, for football and for Real Madrid. We are honoured and proud for this, which we regard as a great challenge and for which we feel immense responsibility."
"The union of Real Madrid with the emirate of Ras al-Khaimah is synonymous with leadership, great professionalism, success, and it obviously strengthens our brand and enhances our prestige throughout the world. This is why I would like to highlight the close collaboration and magnificent dedication with which this dream has been tackled, especially by those in charge of RAK Investtment Authorities and Al Marjaan Football Management. Real Madrid and the Government of Ras al-Khaimah have worked very hard and intensely to make of this enclave a true example of cooperation."
"Today is a special day for the entire Real Madrid family. Our presence in the Middle East and Asia no doubt makes us stronger, but it especially makes us more beloved. Real Madrid Resort Island will make all our supporters proud."
H. H. Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr Al Qassimi
"This is an exciting project developed with a world leading brand. We are proud for being chosen by Real Madrid. We appreaciate their vision and we have a million reasons to be optimistic. I wish to congratulate Florentino Perez for his vision and for where he's taken this club. This is going to transform the United Arab Emirates. We are ready to embrace progress and the millions of visitors who will come to Real Madrid Resort Island."
"Football is continually growing in the Middle East. Real Madrid have more than 300 million fans throughout the world and more than half live in Asia. We will bring Real Madrid closer to these people, who will be able to get to know the club better. The Real Madrid brand is iconic."