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Real legend Salgado welcomes decision to grant UAE citizenship

James Jose/Dubai
Filed on February 5, 2020
RIGHT BALANCE: Michel Salgado (right) said that strengthening the Emirati base should be the key objective. - Photo by Shihab

The former Spanish right-back said that nurturing local players should be the focus in the long-term

Real Madrid Michel Salgado welcomed the decision to grant UAE citizenship to three players, paving the way for their integration to the National football team but said nurturing local players should be the focus in the long-term.

Al Wasl's Fabio de Lima became the latest to be given UAE passports after his club mate Caio Canedo, now at Al Ain, and Al Wahda's goal poacher Sebastian Tagliabue were issued the document.

Former right-back Salgado, who made an astonishing 371 appearances for Real Madrid and was capped 53 times by Spain, said it was a good move but added that strengthening the Emirati base should be the key objective in the future.

"I think we have players from the UAE with enough talent to play our League," Dubai-resident Salgado, said at the announcement of the Under 13 Dubai Intercontinental Football Cup, at the Dubai Media Office on Wednesday.

The fourth installment of the tournament takes place from February 13 to 15 at Dubai Sports City.

"I know that the new people coming in, they are really excited about trying to change football. We are talking about giving passports away to people that can help us develop football in the UAE. But the most important thing is not about giving passports because it is going to be long-term. In terms of short term, yes, you get the passports but the long term is about developing our players. In the end, we need to find the balance," he added.

The 44-year-old, who also played for Celta Vigo, said that the UAE players will benefit from playing against the best.

When have got our players playing against the best, and every day being challenged by the best, our players are going to improve. So, it is a very important moment for football in the UAE," felt Salgado.

"I have no doubt that the talent is in there but we need to work it out and support it. There are rough diamonds that need shaping," he added.



WHAT: Dubai Intercontinental U13 Football Cup

WHERE: Dubai Sports City

WHEN: February 13-15

TEAMS: Real Madrid (Spain), Celta Vigo (Spain), FC Barcelona (Spain), Bayern Munich (Germany), Arsenal (England), Inter Milano (Italy), FC Porto (Portugal), Muscat Football Academy (Oman), Al Nasr (UAE), Al Wasl (UAE), Shabab Al Ahli Dubai (UAE), Al Wahda (UAE), Zamalek (Egypt), Jef United (Japan), Pyramids (Egypt), Maldives National Team (Maldives), Levante Azzuro (Italy), ZedFC (Egypt), Wakatake (Japan), Al Fateh (Saudi Arabia), Canada Select (Canada), Spanish Soccer School (UAE).

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