Abu Dhabi scores Real deal

28 October 2014, News Wires – Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi may both be vying for the accolade of best footballer in the world, but now the Spain-based superstars have something else in common: they each play for clubs receiving significant funds from oil-rich Middle Eastern backers.

Abu DhabiAbu Dhabi’s International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC) on Tuesday confirmed it had struck a long-term commercial deal with Real Madrid aimed at preserving Los Blancos’ position as the world’s top soccer club.

Neither the contract duration nor value was disclosed by IPIC, the emirate’s long-term investor in overseas energy and energy-related assets.

The sponsorship deal is in part aimed at turning Real’s Bernabeu stadium – set to be renamed the Abu Dhabi Santiago Bernabeu – into “the best sporting venue in the world,” IPIC said.

The relationship will also aim to support Real’s network of 350 schools in 70 countries, which benefit more than 50,000 children through footballing programmes.

Florentino Perez, president of the current holders of the European Champions League Cup, said: “From today, IPIC becomes a partner that shares Real Madrid’s values and dreams. Importantly, this is a partnership that will enable Real Madrid to achieve its future goal – to remain the world’s number one football club.”

Crown Prince Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan added: “This long-term agreement is designed to provide Real Madrid with the commercial means, not just to build the world’s greatest sports venue, but also to spread Real Madrid’s heritage and football ethos around the globe.”

Barcelona, a club that for so long had shunned paid advertising, is currently sponsored by the Qatar Foundation, while Abu Dhabi’s royal family is already the owner of Manchester City Football Club in England.

Real and Barcelona routinely sign or develop some of the best football players in the world, with Ronaldo joined by German World Cup winner Toni Kroos and the sport’s most expensive player, Gareth Bale, while Messi plays alongside Spanish legends Xabi and Andres Iniesta, as well as Brazil’s poster boy Neymar.



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