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Ex-Real Madrid's Michel Salgado sees Gibraltar United potential

Michel Salgado is part of the group that has taken over at Gibraltar United.

Former Real Madrid and Blackburn Rovers defender Michel Salgado is looking forward to an "adventure" in his new role as part-owner of Gibraltar United.

Salgado, a former Spain international, and his Swiss-Italian business partner Pablo Dana have taken over the team, who are seventh in the 10-team Gibraltar Premier League.

The news was accompanied by the announcement of Switzerland's Turicum Bank as the club's main sponsor, while reports in the local media said the takeover deal could involve funding from Dubai amid talk of winning the local title and reaching the Champions League.

Since retiring as a player in 2012, Salgado has worked as a commentator and youth coach in Dubai, also acting as a La Liga ambassador in the Middle East.

Salgado told GBC news that he had missed day-to-day involvement in the game.

"It is a special day in my life," he said. "I have been playing football for a long time and I miss it a lot, I miss the competition. This is my first adventure as an owner of a club.

"I am really glad to be in Gibraltar -- it is such a special place. That is why we chose Gibraltar United. I am really looking forward to working here, and to bring my expertise in football and try to produce something positive for football in this country. That is the real aim."

Football in Gibraltar, which has a population of just over 30,000, has taken strides in recent years, with teams gaining the right to play in UEFA international competition.

Champions Lincoln Red Imps embarrassed Celtic in a Champions League qualifying round first leg last year.

Salgado added: "Everything was really quick -- in three months we took the decision to own the club.

"I like the country -- it is a potential place to do something really good, especially with the kids and the grassroots and to try to grow football little by little.

"I like the name, as it has that power as the only [club] with the Gibraltar name in it. Now I am starting to work on getting to know everything in the club and to improve the club."

Dermot Corrigan is a Madrid-based football writer who covers La Liga and the Spain national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @dermotmcorrigan

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