Real Madrid believe Emirates have brought the club good luck since they began their partnership last year and the Spanish giants are rewarding their sponsors by agreeing to play their first-ever game in Dubai in a blockbuster friendly against AC Milan this December.
The match, titled the Dubai Football Challenge, was announced at the Emirates Group headquarters, and is scheduled to take place at the Sevens Stadium on December 30, 2014.
The two Emirates Airline-sponsored clubs have promised to bring their full squads to Dubai in what promises to be a thrilling encounter in front of 40,000 of their fans here in the UAE.
“I would like to thank Emirates for inviting Real Madrid to be part of this game,” said Emilio Butragueno, ex-player for Real Madrid and their current director of institutional relations.
“We are very excited about it because it’s going to be the first time Real Madrid are going to play here in Dubai and it will be a fantastic opportunity to get in touch with those who love football in this region.
“We are delighted with our alliance with Emirates. They brought good luck to the club because in their first season as our main sponsor we were able to win the Champions League – the most prestigious club competition in the world.
“This partnership strengthens the club and gives us a presence in the Middle East, a region which is very very important from a strategic point of view for the club.”
Cristiano Ronaldo will be amongst the top stars featuring in the match and Butragueno says fans should expect a great match between two of Europe’s most legendary clubs.
“We are talking about football, about Real Madrid, so we have our prestige. The whole squad will be here to play this match and with the idea for the football fans to enjoy the game,” added El Buitre.
“So we are going to come here, to try to do our best, try to make people happy.”
Unlike Madrid, Milan are no strangers to the UAE having spent their winter training camp here before and having won the Dubai Football Challenge for three consecutive years.
“We will keep on winning it,” joked Franco Baresi, who represented AC Milan at the press conference. “This year it’s not going to be easy. Our team is changing, it’s a new era and playing against Real Madrid, the Champions League winners, one of the strongest team in the world, we hope to win but it’s not going to be easy.”
Tickets, which are now on sale at Virgin Megastore and Time Out outlets, start from Dh200 and organisers are expecting them to sell out in record time.
“Welcoming footballing giants Real Madrid and AC Milan to Dubai marks a truly magnificent end to what has been a fantastic year for football.
“Thanks to the World Cup, we have seen the obsession with the beautiful game hit fever pitch amongst locals, expats and visitors alike, so it’s the perfect time to bring this world-class match to the emirate,” said Hamad bin Mejren, Executive Director of Dubai Convention and Events Bureau at DTCM, a coordinating partner of the Dubai Football Challenge.