Michel Salgado in Dubai

Real Madrid legend takes top Dubai Sport City coaching job

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This week, our columnist welcomes Spanish footballer Michel Salgado to Dubai Sports City

Former Real Madrid, Blackburn Rovers and Spain defender Michel Salgado has signed for Dubai Sports City: he’ll be the new director of football at the ever-growing venue. A new indoor football pitch is just one part of the world-class facility that makes up the football academy.

Salgado is a legend, and a great guy too. He’s always happy to chat, and has many thoughts on the clubs he’s played for and the future of football in the Gulf. He told me he’d love one of the kids he’s training to appear at the World Cup in Qatar 2022. It’s still ten years away, so is quite possible.

Salgado has a coaching team around him, but is promising to bring that Spanish flavour of football to Dubai Sports City. So with a bit of luck, if you’re under 16, you could well be the next Messi and appear in Qatar in 2022, if Salgado has anything to do with it. The two-time Champions League winner and four-time La Liga champion knows what he is doing. He’s played alongside the likes of Beckham, Ronaldo and Figo, so knows a thing or two about the game.

Staying with football: why is the number 42 so important in the UAE? It’s not far off the summer temperature, and it’s also the highest position the UAE have reached in the FIFA rankings. In 1998 the team broke into the top 50, but 2013 is proving pretty good too. The latest FIFA rankings were announced recently with the UAE up to 89th. You may think that’s still a fair way off our highest ever, but we’re going in the right direction. Unlike England, who have slipped to seventh from fourth (ahem).
Tom Bushell hosts Sport On 7 on City 7 TV (Mon 8pm) and is Arabian Radio Network’s head of sport.

One more thing…

The British & Irish Lions rugby union tour will soon be upon us. The boys will be first travelling to Hong Kong to face the Barbarians, before heading to Australia for a series of friendlies and test matches against the Wallabies. It got me thinking: if you have friends from home who are travelling to watch the action, tell them to stop in Dubai to see you. It’s half way, breaks up the journey and saves you having to go home, again, to visit everyone.

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