Real Madrid has arrived in Abu Dhabi ahead of the Club World Cup as they seek to defend their title. The European champions are the first club to defend The Club World Cup trophy since its inception in 2000, as the only team to win back-to-back champions league titles.
Los Blancos will play Al Jazira on Wednesday 13th December in the semi finals as they begin their defence of the FIFA Club World Cup. They will play both their games at the Zayed Sports City Stadium in Abu Dhabi.
Last year they beat Japanese club Kashima Antlers 4-2 after extra time in 2016, and will once again hope to win the title and be the first team to win consecutive FIFA Club World Cup titles.
The fans from the UAE and the region have been waiting patiently for a glimpse of the champions and their opportunity will be coming soon thanks to Real Madrid and it’s supporters clubs in the region.
Fatima Dergham, the VP of the Supporters Club in Dubai, speaks to The Sports Journal ahead of their meet and greet and the supporters club. The Real Madrid supporters club in Dubai, La Saeta de Dubai, was named after the legendary Alfredo Di Stefano, which was set up in 2014, a fitting name for the city’s first Real Madrid supporters club.
“In 2014 a group of us Madridistas in Dubai decided it was time to start representing our club officially, especially that there was no fans club at the time where we could gather as Madridistas, so we approached Real Madrid and started the procedure to get the proper accreditation. We decided to name the Peña after the club’s legend Di Stefano “La Saeta de Dubai” as he has just passed away and we wanted to honor his legacy.”
As it is always the case, with multiple representations claiming to be the real deal, ‘La Saeta de Dubai’ is the official Real Madrid supporters in Dubai
“Yes, the fan club is officially accredited by Real Madrid and it’s the only official one in Dubai.”
Managing a supporters club is always time consuming but when passion and the love for your club takes over, it is all worth it.
“We started this fan club because we wanted the Madridistas in Dubai and UAE to have a home where they could gather, meet people who feel the colors of our clubs, experience the joy of celebrating titles together as well as sharing the frustration that football sometimes makes you feel and I believe we’ve succeeded as we currently have members from over 10 nationalities, different religions and background that are united by the same feeling and love of the same club.”
Being a member of the official supporters club comes with its benefits as Fatima says “We have a great relationship with the club especially the fan club department that provides us with discounted tickets to all matches throughout the season, opportunities to meet the players if they happen to be in the UAE as well as offer us special fan club cards that give us discounts and benefits we otherwise wouldn’t get if we weren’t part of the official fan club.”
“Our members pay a yearly membership of €5 to Real Madrid to be able to get the fan club card provided by the club. As for us we haven’t applied a membership fee yet but will do so soon to be able to organize gatherings and events for the Peña (fan club)”
Real Madrid are in the capital for the Club World Cup, and as a token of appreciation, the club has invited the supporters club to an exclusive meet and greet with the Galacticos in Abu Dhabi.
“We have been invited by the club to attend the Club World Cup matches as well as a meet and greet with the players and team’s representatives at their place of residence in Abu Dhabi.
“Real Madrid wanted to show their appreciation for the continuous support of UAE & Arab fans in general so they have decided to hold a special event for the fan clubs in the MENA region to meet the players, get autographs and photos and spend some time with the squad and club representatives.”
Being the VP of the supporters club brings in its own unique advantages.
“During last year’s Globe Soccer Awards everyone was trying to get the attention of Real Madrid president Florentino Perez, all I had to do was walk to him and say “hi Don Florentino I’m from the official Peña” which made him stop and greet me as if we were long lost friends, take photos with me and my sister who’s the fan club’s treasurer as well as some friends with us. Needless to say that everyone present was left wondering if we were football celebrities to cause this kind of reaction from the president of one of the biggest clubs in the world.”
Real Madrid’s form has been poor especially in La Liga this season, Cristiano Ronaldo recently blamed that to the clubs decision of selling senior players like James Rodriguez and Alvaro Morata and replacing them with youth players. Perhaps the Club World Cup is an opportunity for Los Blancos to get away, focus on a different competition and come back with a new spirit.
“Real Madrid had one of its worst forms during the beginning of the 2016 season but then Zidane came along and the team ended up winning the 11th Champions League Trophy. It’s one of those teams that you can never cast aside as it always comes back. I have no doubt that this squad is capable of turning things around and the opportunity of winning another Club World Cup will be a great incentive for the players to get back to winning ways. “
What does a fan have to do to join the supporters club? “To join our Fan club all new members need to do is, fill up the form provided by the club, pay the €5 fees to receive their membership card from Real Madrid and enjoy special benefits and discounts.
“I would like to say to all the Madridistas in UAE that they are welcome to join us and be part of our growing fan club, watch the games with fellow Real Madrid supporters and belong to a community of like minded people and help us represent Real Madrid in the UAE in the best way possible.”