By Sports Reporter Doha
The bosses of two of Serie A’s biggest clubs visited Aspire Academy on Thursday morning ahead of the hotly contested 2016 Supercoppa Italiana clash between Juventus FC and AC Milan. Played at the Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium in Al Sadd, home of the Al Sadd SC team, the match represents one of the most prestigious domestic Italian cups and one of the biggest games of the year in Qatar, popular with football fans from around the country.
Adriano Galliani Vice-President and CEO of AC Milan and Giuseppe Marotta, CEO of league-leaders Juventus FC, led delegations of executives and officials from their respective clubs for the tour.
The visitors were welcomed and accompanied to Aspire Academy by Deputy Director General, Mr Ali Salem Afifa. During their hour-long visit, they were given an extensive overview of the state-of-the-art facilities and labs, as well as the dynamic sports programmes available. They also met a number of coaches and staff who explained the role of Aspire Academy in helping athletes reach their full sporting potential. Players from both teams also had the opportunity to meet student-athletes from Aspire Academy.
Commenting on the tour, AC Milan Vice-President and CEO Adriano Galliani said: “Aspire Academy is phenomenal and it takes sport development to another level. I have been hugely impressed by what l have seen and it shows how Qatar is astutely planning and setting out ambitious goals for success.”
Fellow countryman and Juventus FC CEO Giuseppe Marotta also commented on the visit by saying: “It is clear that Aspire Academy continues to develop and grow and set the benchmark for world-leading sport academies. The facilities and sport programmes run here are amongst the very best around the world, ensuring that sport in Qatar has a very bright future. I fully expect Aspire Academy to deliver long-lasting success in Qatar and to set a great example to the rest of the world.”
The Juventus FC and AC Milan squads also made full use of the facilities and equipment at Aspire Academy during their stay, with both clubs training for several hours on the Academy’s outdoor football pitches, which have been maintained to the very highest standards. They also trained using the Footbonaut, an innovative football training machine which fires balls at different speeds and trajectories at players, who must control and pass the ball into a highlighted square.
The pitches Juventus FC and AC Milan trained on are the same pitches that attract the likes of Bayern Munich, FC Schalke 04, Manchester United, Paris Saint-Germain, KAS Eupen and Ahli FC Saudi Arabia for winter training camps year after year.
This is the second time that Qatar has hosted the Supercoppa Italiana final, following 2014’s fixture which saw Juventus FC lose to Napoli 6–5 in a penalty shootout following a 2–2 draw in regular time.
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