Spain legend Iker Casillas to open goalkeeper training centre in Dubai

Team KT/Dubai
Filed on September 8, 2021
Iker Casillas with Saeed Hareb and Michel Salgado. (Supplied photo)

Casillas said the training centre would be like a second life for him

Spain and Real Madrid legend Iker Casillas will open a goalkeeping training centre in Dubai, it was announced on Wednesday.

The new academy — Iker Casillas Goalkeeper Training Centre — is the first by Casillas outside Spain.

The centre, established in partnership with Dubai’s Fursan Hispania FC, helmed by former Spain international football star Michel Salgado, is dedicated to honing the skills of aspiring young goalkeepers from UAE and the region, as well as established professionals and goalkeeping coaches.

The launch of the centre was announced during a press conference on Wednesday at the Dubai Sports Council.

Casillas, Salgado, Saeed Hareb, Secretary General of Dubai Sports Council, and Nasser Aman Al Rahma, Assistant Secretary General of the Council, attended the press conference.

Casillas, who retired from the sport after suffering a heart attack, said the training centre would be like a second life for him.

“As you all know, my football career was brought to an early and premature end due to health reasons. This training centre is like starting a second life for me,” he said.

“I have always dreamt of giving back to this sport which has given me everything, and I have always wanted to open a training centre dedicated to goalkeeping. There are very few specialist training centres for goalkeepers in the world, and I am really pleased to launch this important project here in Dubai, a city where I have always felt welcomed.

“I would like to thank Dubai, first and foremost, and then Michel Salgado and Dubai Sports Council for making this project become a reality. Our focus will, of course, be on creating goalkeepers, but more than that, I want this training centre to develop good human beings because that is the most important thing.”

Meanwhile, Saeed Hareb said the new academy will help the rising stars.

“The launch of the ‘Iker Casillas Goalkeeper Training Centre’ in Dubai is great news for young goalkeeping talents and coaches from not just the UAE but around the region,” Saeed Hareb said.

“The programme has been developed by one of the finest goalkeepers in football history – a legend who has won a World Cup (2010) and two European titles (2008 and 2012) as captain of Spain, and numerous other titles in a long and illustrious career with his club Real Madrid, both at home and on the continental stage,” he added.

“Casillas has a few equals in football history, and the fact that he has chosen Dubai to launch this specialised programme for goalkeepers reaffirms Dubai’s position as one of the world’s leading centres for the development of sports talent and coaches, and the preferred destination for investment in the sports sector.”

Hareb added that both Casillas and Salgado will bring a wealth of experience and expertise to the Centre, which will serve as a unique space for goalkeepers and goalkeeping coaches looking to and hone their skills.

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