GOVERNOR Nyesom Wike of Rivers State has signed an agreement with Real Madrid Football Club in Spain that will involve the Spanish giants developing an academy in Port Harcourt to nurture future talent.
Considered as Europe’s most successful club, Real Madrid has won a record 26 trophies, including 13 European Cup/Uefa Champions League titles and four Super Cups. In international football, they have lifted a record seven club world championships and in 2000, Real Madrid was recognised as the Fifa Club of the 20th century.
In addition, Real Madrid received the Fifa Centennial Order of Merit on 20 May 2004 and was also awarded Best European Club of the 20th century in May 2010. In June 2017, the club succeeded in becoming the first side to win back-to-back Uefa Champions Leagues trophies, then made it three in a row in May 2018, extending its lead at the top the Uefa club rankings.
Looking to cash tap into this success, Governor Wike signed an agreement with the club to establish an academy in Rivers State that will produce local talent. Most of Europe’s big clubs like Barcelona, Inter Milan, AC Milan, Juventus, Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City have all had Nigerian players at one time or another but Real Madrid and Manchester United have been exceptions.
Signing the agreement at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium, Governor Wike is hopeful that the deal will soon lead to Nigerian stars coming through the Real Madrid ranks. Governor Wike was accompanied by the senator representing Rivers Southeast Senator Barry Mpigi, the former deputy speaker of House of Representatives Hon Austin Opara, Senator Olaka Nwogu, Senator Sam Anyanwu, Senator Mao Ohuabunwa, former sports commissioner Boma Iyaye, Hon Felix Nwaeke and ex-commissioner Marcus Nlenji.
Traditionally, Rivers State has always produced some of Nigeria’s best players including the likes of Finidi George, Taribo West and Joseph Yobo. It is expected that once the Real Madrid is up and running, scouts will uncover more such talent.