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Real Madrid Announces $1B Luxury Resort Island

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The Real Madrid soccer team plans to build a $1 billion luxury resort complex in the United Arab Emirates that will include condos, a theme park, a museum and a stadium open to the sea on one side, its president, Florentino Perez, announced Thursday.

Planned to open its gilded gates in January 2015 on more than 123 acres on the tiny emirate of Ras al-Khaimah, the complex will "seduce millions of people in search of quality leisurely activities," Perez said.

The tiny emirate of Ras al-Khaimah is expected to get a $1 billion luxury resort complex featuring the Real Madrid soccer team.

In addition to the five-star hotel with 450 rooms and the 500-plus luxury apartments, villas and bungalows, the island will offer a Real Madrid museum, a theme park and whatever a "hologram football show" is.

The chief attraction, a soccer stadium that fits 10,000 people, will be open on one side to views of the Persian Gulf beyond.

Expectations of bringing a million visitors may not be too far off the mark, with 2 billion people living within four hours of Ras al-Khaimah, thanks to the twin air travel hubs of Emirates airlines and Qatar Airways, two of the largest in the world, right next door.

Admitting the strategic nature of the decision to increase its presence in a key region, Perez invoked the larger role of soccer in the world community when announcing the partnership: "The world of sports and Real Madrid again prove to have no boundaries, and football is a fantastic tool with which to make different people and cultures come together."

Qatar launched a successful bid to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup, and the rising popularity of European football in the Middle East should bring even more cash to the richest soccer team in the world, which saw its revenues jump by 9% in the 2010-11 season, to $635 million.

-- Written by Greg Emerson in New York

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