Atletico Madrid's Gabi and Fernando Torres lift the trophy as they celebrate winning the Europa League.
(photo credit: REUTERS/PETER CZIBORRA)
Spanish soccer giants Atlético Madrid and Israeli champions Hapoel Beersheba announced Sunday the opening of a youth academy in southern Israel.
The establishment of the Beersheba academy, which seeks to boost the quality of the Israeli team's youth system, was announced by Alona Barkat, Beersheba's president, Idan Ofer, Israeli businessman and shareholder of Atlético, accompanied by Emilio Gutiérrez, director of Atlético’s academy.
“Atlético Madrid is one of the best teams in the world. For many years, they’ve been raising academy players in a great way,” said Barkat. “I’m positive this alliance with [Atlético’s] academy will help us keep growing.”
Beersheba have enjoyed both domestic and European success in recent years, winning the Israeli Premier League for the past three seasons.
“[I’m proud] to have taken a part In putting the two clubs in contact with each other,” said Ofer. “This will be a successful project.”
Atlético CEO Miguel Ángel Gil spoke of the importance of the academy as a center of tolerance through sport.
“The main objective is that this academy is open to people of all religions and cultures,” said Gil. “We want to integrate everyone through a common project, based on the values of sport.”
Atlético finished as La Liga runners-up during the 2017-18 season, coming directly ahead of city rivals Real Madrid. They finished their season with silverware defeating Marseille 3-0 to win their third Europa League title.
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