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Young footballers in Northern Emirates hope to reign in Spain

DUBAI // Young footballers dreaming of playing in one of the best leagues in the world are edging closer to achieving their ambitions as trials backed by telecom firm du and Spain’s La Liga move to the next level of selection.

The partnership between the home of footballing legends Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, and the duFC International scouting programme offers an opportunity for talented youngsters to pursue a career in the game.

The top 30 players in the under-14 and under-16 age groups from the Northern Emirates who have made the grade after a tough selection process, will participate in a two-day intensive training clinic in March.

The players were selected after four weeks of matches where scouts from La Liga watched those competing for a place in the final selection process.

The pool will be reduced once more to select those good enough to join the du LaLiga High Performance Centre at the Rugby Sevens stadium in Dubai in April.

Programme director Michel Salgado, the former Spain and Real Madrid player, was impressed with the talent emerging in the UAE.

“It was great to see some of the players from last year returning to duFC having spent a year training and preparing themselves for the opportunity to be discovered,” said the beIN Sports analyst.

“This platform has discovered some great talent in its first year and with the addition of the under-14 category I am certain that we are developing some of the future stars of football.”

The best players in the under-16 category will travel to Spain in August for a three-week training clinic and competitive matches with youth teams from Malaga C.T. Granada CF, Cadiz CF and Sevilla CF.

DuFC coach Raphael Sanches was another impressed by the standard of football.

“The level of youth football in the Northern Emirates was very high and we are very pleased with the short-listed candidates who we encourage to train hard in next few months leading up to their final trial in Dubai.”

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The National