Real Madrid Foundation opens its first football campus in Istanbul
Istanbul becomes Real’s latest stop in a venture to find top talents, as the record Champions League winner opens the first of its many football branches in Türkiye’s biggest metropolis
ith schools in 70 countries and more than 85,000 pupils, the Real Madrid Foundation Football Program is one of the largest academies for budding players.
Istanbul is the latest stop in Real’s venture to find top talents, as the record Champions League winner opened the first of its many football branches in Türkiye’s biggest metropolis.
The football academy is concerned with developing students’ sports and social awareness at school and club levels.
The Real Madrid academy in Istanbul accepts children from 4 to 17 years old as it aims to develop their abilities and passion for football while honing their social skills.
Samet Şehvassuf, the marketing and public relations officer at the school, told Daily Sabah that the Istanbul branch was opened after an agreement with the Real Madrid Foundation following five-month negotiations by the local director of the foundation, Jamie Carbonell Diaz.
“The choice to open a branch of Real Madrid’s training schools was made due to the importance of the world-famous and European club, which has a large fan base, and the role of these schools in developing children’s football talent,” Şehvassuf, a Syrian Turkish, pointed out.
“The choice of Istanbul as the school’s headquarters is due to the city’s importance as a strategic center for the gathering of Turks and foreigners, especially after the opening of several European clubs previously training academies in the city,” he added.
Advanced training program
The training program at the Real Madrid school in Istanbul focuses on developing the technical, tactical, physical and psychological qualities of the trainees.
The training courses are designed in a coherent manner on these four aspects, according to the school’s platforms on social networking sites.
The marketing official explained that the training program extends for nine months for each level, pointing out that the program started last September for three hours per week, on Saturdays and Sundays, in addition to monthly exams.
3 stadiums in Istanbul
Şehvassuf added that the classes were distributed across three stadiums to cover the large geographical area in Istanbul: the first in the Kağıthane district, the second in Büyükçekmece and the third on the Asian side of the city in the Ümraniye district.
He said more than 100 Turkish and foreign children, from Arab, African, Asian and European countries were already training at these venues.
“They were selected according to criteria set by the Real Madrid Foundation, after attracting a large group of children through visits to schools and advertisements from through social media pages.”
He added that the children are divided according to age groups and their skills in order to receive different training according to their abilities.
Şehvassuf also said that the Real Madrid Foundation has signed a contract with the Istanbul International Community School (IICS), one of the largest private schools in the city.
The school in Büyükçekmece boasts the largest stadium for schools, and it was approved as one of the training grounds.
Regarding the coaches who supervise the training, Şehvassuf confirmed that Real Madrid sent a special coach accredited by him, the Spaniard Rodrigo Rojas Blasco, along with three assistants of different foreign nationalities, pointing out that all the coaches hold international training certificates.
Regarding the language used in training and communication with the trainees, the marketing and public relations official confirmed that “the English language is the approved language for training, and translation from Turkish and Arabic is also assisted.”
Features of Real Madrid
About the advantages that the trainees get, Şehvassuf said: “In addition to the advantages that the Real Madrid club provides to students in the event that it carries out activities in Turkey, members of the Real Madrid Foundation also attend the activities. From time to time, the club conducts experiments to attract talented people from Real Madrid schools around the world to include them in its base teams, within a program specially prepared for this.”
In this context, Şehvassuf stated that there will be a camp for trainees in schools next April at Real Madrid’s headquarters in Spain, in addition to a tour inside the headquarters and the club’s stadium “Santiago Bernabeu.” Participants can attend a match for the club in the Spanish League.
He also indicated that plans are currently underway to communicate with Real Madrid schools in a number of Arab and European countries, to conduct a football tournament between the teams of these schools in Istanbul, as part of the training and raising the skills and experience of the trainees.
He pointed out that they visited the club’s headquarters at the end of last October and attended a special event for Real Madrid schools around the world.
Cooperation with Turkish clubs
On the other hand, the marketing officer of the Istanbul branch of the Real Madrid Academy confirmed that they had contacted a number of famous Turkish clubs such as Galatasaray, Besiktas and the Turkish Football Association to open channels of cooperation, and that “this will contribute later to the possibility of conducting cooperation, activities and matches with the base teams of these clubs.” He also proposed the possibility of nominating the talented among them to join the base teams in these clubs.
He also indicated that, as part of their future plan, the schools will work to increase the number of stadiums used in Istanbul, in addition to expanding to several other Turkish cities in the coming months, and opening new branches, including Izmir, Mersin, Gaziantep and others.
As an important aspect of the school’s aims, Şehvassuf also pointed out that the children trained at the Real Madrid Academy not only acquire sports and physical skills but also other skills that are reflected in their personalities, such as psychological and social health and language skills, especially in sports terms, and refining their skills in a caring environment.
Founded in 1997, the Real Madrid Foundation aims to express, through its social work, Real Madrid’s commitment to solidarity while preserving both the historical legacy of the club and the promotion of the values inherent in the sport and the social inclusion of the most vulnerable in order to develop inclusive education for children and youth, according to statements on the foundation’s social media platforms.