Real Estate: Club To Build \$1bn Holiday Island

Top European football club Real Madrid has unveiled plans to spend \$1bn (£630m) to build a lavish resort island in the United Arab Emirates, complete with luxury hotels, marina and amusement park.

The opulent resort on the artificial island of Al Marjan also will house a 10,000-seat stadium, half of which will be open to the sea, as well as sports facilities, a club museum and a residential area.

Joined by Madrid coach Jose Mourinho , club legend and now director Zinedine Zidane, and a host of first team players, Real president Florentino Perez revealed his computer-generated vision for the island.

"The sports world and Real Madrid again demonstrate that the borders do not exist and that football is a fantastic tool to unite people," Mr Perez said.

"This is a decisive and strategic step that will enhance the strength of this institution in the Middle East and Asia, a key region in which the passion for this club has been apparent."

The project may be seen as unusual for a football club but if successful it may set a trend across the industry as clubs try to find new ways to make money.

Manchester United, for example, has a range of branded restaurants across Asia.

"We adhere our name and potential to a unique location, a strategic meeting place and a project of unprecedented dimension located less than four hours away by flight of 2,000 million people," Mr Perez added.

The club will open the 50-hectare resort in January 2015.