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Real Madrid To Open Resort In United Arab Emirates

Real Madrid Resort Island

First Posted: 03/23/2012 8:17 am Updated: 03/25/2012 12:06 pm

Real Madrid is expanding its brand and heading to the Middle East. Club executives revealed plans on Thursday to build Real Madrid Resort Island, complete a 10,000-seat stadium, a five-star hotel, beach-side bungalows and an amusement park on a man-made island sponsored by emirate Ras Al-Khaimah, the AFP reports.

The island resort, expected to cost $1 billion, will feature the world's first stadium to open out into the sea, according to The Financial Times.

"It is a decisive and strategic step that will strengthen our institution in the Middle East and Asia," Real Madrid President Florentino Pérez said before adding, "Real Madrid Resort Island will be a major tourist and sporting center of great dimensions and the highest level. This extraordinary complex will attract millions of people looking for quality leisure services."

The popular club has some 300 million fans worldwide, half of which are in Asia,The Guardian reports. Real Madrid officials picked the spot because it is conveniently located between Europe and the Far East

The island will sit some 45 minutes from the Dubai airport, making it an easy destination for visitors.

WATCH CNN discuss the Emirates tourism boom below:

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Filed by Kate Auletta  |