Real treat for Malaysia

PETALING JAYA: Fans of Real Madrid and their galacticos – Kaka, Raul and Cristiano Ronaldo – are in for a treat.

The Spanish giants are set to make their maiden trip to Malaysia in August.

The FA of Malaysia (FAM) are working with a sports event management group from Singapore to bring the world’s richest club to Kuala Lumpur for their pre-season training from Aug 14-21.

And if things go as planned, Real could be led by the Special One – Jose Mourinho, who is still in talks to coach the club after guiding Inter Milan to the Champions League trophy last week.

FAM secretary general Datuk Azzuddin Ahmad confirmed that they held preliminary talks with the sports event management group at Wisma FAM in Kelana Jaya yesterday.

“We have yet to conclude the deal. We have to look at the financial aspects before making a final decision on June 4,” Azzudin told a press conference after the prize presentation ceremony to newly-crowned FAM Cup champions Sime Darby FC at the KL Football Stadium in Cheras yesterday.

Azzuddin said that if the deal was sealed, Real Madrid would play two matches against the national team.

“We welcome the idea of bringing Real Madrid to our shores but we have a problem with the venue because the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil will not be available due to renovation works on the track,” said Azzuddin.

Last year, Manchester United played two friendly matches against the national team at the National Stadium.

The other stars in the Real Madrid team are Xabi Alonso, Iker Casillas, Argentine Gonzalo Higuain and Frenchman Karim Benzema.

The last time Real were in this part of the world was back in 2005, when they toured China, Japan and Thailand.

Besides Real Madrid, the FAM have also received a request from English Division Two club Cardiff City for a friendly match against the national team on July 15.

Cardiff were recently bought over by Malaysian tycoon Tan Sri Vincent Tan and businessman Datuk Chan Tien Ghee.

The Bluebirds failed in their bid to qualify for the lucrative English Premier League after losing 2-3 to Blackpool in the Division Two play-off final recently.

The FAM are also considering a request from the South Korean Olympic squad for a friendly in late July.

The national team, under coach K. Rajagopal, will be going on a playing tour of Turkey from June 9-20.

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