20/03/2013 - Dubai Lifestyle News Posted by Neil King
Former Real Madrid and Spain star Michel Salgado was extremely impressed with the organisation of an inaugural children's football tournament in Dubai.More than 400 youngsters ranging from under-eights to under-16s took part in the competition at the Academies Campus, which is part of the excellent Dubai Sports City (DSC).Salgado, who finished his playing career with English side Blackburn Rovers, said the level of enthusiasm shown by the children was "infectious" and that the future of young footballing talent in the UAE looks very promising.The event was such a success that leaders of the DSC confirmed it would be held annually.Salgado, aged 37, said: "The fact the children were able to take advantage of playing at such a great facility as the DSC Academies Campus gave them a huge buzz - I saw that first-hand."In the past month the same pitches have been used by Russian top flight side Anzhi Makhachkala and Swansea City, the English Premier League side that won the League Cup at Wembley."The classy former right back is certainly in a good position to judge emerging talent, having secured numerous top honours in the game. He won the Uefa Champions League on two occasions during his time at Madrid and was also capped 53 times by his country.Meanwhile, general manager of sports business for the DSC Maqbul Dudhia insisted the youth tournament highlighted the fact that the world-class facilities are open to everybody, not just professional athletes.He said the DSC is "buzzing with activity" at the moment and the football competition is not the only important event taking place in the city. Indeed, the emirate has also hosted international cricket at the ICC Global Cricket Academy and golf and social events have been held at the Els Club.Football icon Diego Maradona is a sporting ambassador for the UAE and he recently told Gulf News that Dubai is the "Disneyland of sport" and few places in the world are better suited to hosting top-class events.