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Long-Time Real Madrid Member Rafael Nadal Receives Honorary Gesture During Their Latest Match Against Espanyol

Published 04/30/2022, 1:50 PM EDT

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Rafael Nadal is undoubtedly one of the most famous and accomplished tennis players in the history of the sport. He is the first person to win a record 21 Men’s Grand Slam titles. At 35 years of age, returning from a hiatus of over 6 months due to an injury, Nadal not only won his second Australian Open, but he also won two other ATP singles titles- one at the Melbourne Summer Set and the other one at Acapulco.

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Recently, his favorite football club, Real Madrid, let the tennis champ kick start one of their games in Madrid.


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Real Madrid’s gesture for Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal has been one of the most vocal fans of the club for a very long time. The club also made him an honorary member way back in 2011, when he was already quite the accomplished player, but nowhere close to where he stands today.

Nadal is currently in Madrid, to play at the Mutua Madrid Open, where he starts his campaign on Tuesday. Before that, other than practicing, he has also been engaged in a plethora of activities.


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One such engagement was the result of a very sweet gesture from the Real Madrid organization. They let the former World No. 1 start a match by kicking the ball off. The match was between Real Madrid and RCD Espanyol de Barcelona and was held at the Santiago Bernabéu stadium, as a part of La Liga.

As a youngster, Rafael Nadal used to play both tennis and football. He even claims he was quite good at maneuvering the ball. But it was his uncle and then coach Toni Nadal who recognized his skills with the racquet and figured that his nephew has the potential to be a world-class tennis player!

“I’m a huge football fan and Real Madrid is my favorite club. It’s the club I support and love, it’s truly part of my life,” Nadal said.

Nadal’s sports university in Madrid

This engagement at Real Madrid’s match was not the only one Nadal has been to in the last few days. He recently also inaugurated the initiative for the UAX Rafa Nadal Sports university, in collaboration with Alfonso X El Sabio University.


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A post shared by Rafa Nadal (@rafaelnadal)

“Today we have presented in Madrid a very important project for me. I am especially excited to join the Alfonso X el Sabio University. Training and education facilitate and help improve the future of young people, which is why the bases of UAX Rafa Nadal Sports University are to work with young people, giving them the necessary tools through education, health and sport,” Rafael Nadal wrote in his Instagram post.


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Watch This Story: Top five moments of Rafael Nadal at the Monte Carlo Masters

This is a step up for Nadal’s academies, which have been really successful in providing a holistic experience to anyone who wants to undergo training in a rigorous fashion.

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Written by:

Rishma Banerjee


One take at a time

Rishma Banerjee is a tennis author at EssentiallySports. Having done her masters in Political Science with International Relations from Jadavpur University, Rishma's outlet from the hustle-bustle of academics has always been sports, especially Tennis. A die-hard fan of Rafael Nadal, she admires his grit, determination and dedication towards always being better. When not writing content for firms dealing with fintech to social media marketing to sports, she finds herself in journals and books dealing with geopolitics and strategic studies or scrolling endlessly through Tumblr!
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Edited by:

Ranvijay Singh