SINGAPORE: Football club Valencia CF will play a friendly at the Republic's National Stadium next year, it announced on Wednesday (May 18).
The club also announced a slew of partnerships with Singapore bodies, as players arrived in the city-state for the first time since local businessman and billionaire Peter Lim took control of the Spanish outfit two years ago.
First to be unveiled was a "Singapore Football Festival" in conjunction with top Spanish division La Liga and the Football Association of Singapore (FAS).
Valencia's commercial and marketing director Peter Draper said: "We intend to develop a series of activities to run across the year, as well as embrace some existing events, culminating in a visit to Singapore by our first team to play at least one competitive match next summer."
He added that the match will be held at the National Stadium, but said that the timing of the match "depends on the facility, as we know there are some issues with the stadium".
The club will play two to three matches in Singapore for subsequent seasons, and the games will be against both local and international opponents.
Valencia has also signed a three-year tie-up with local S.League club Geylang International, to run "Spanish-style" football clinics and camps in the Bedok heartlands - where a Valencia Soccer School will be built.
The programmes will consist of 10-session, three-day courses for boys and girls aged 10 to 16. Mr Draper said the initiatives will teach "the same techniques displayed in Spanish La Liga football". He added that a coach from the Spanish club will be based in Singapore on a full-time basis from June.
Geylang chairman Ben Teng said his club hopes to identify "some top talents" from the soccer school, who will then move on their under-15 and under-17 setups.
"In the event that a very outstanding talent emerges, it may be possible for this talent to be provided with a training attachment at Valencia," added Mr Teng.
During this visit, current squad goalkeepers Mathew Ryan and Jaume Domenech; midfielder Javi Fuego; forward Santi Mina as well as manager Pako Ayestaran will participate in local community and sporting events up to Sunday.
Valencia on Wednesday also confirmed that striker Paco Alcacer will travel out to join the rest of the squad in Singapore, after he missed out on a place in the provisional 25-man squad for Euro 2016.
Former Valencia stars Gaizka Mendieta and David Albelda are also in Singapore in their capacity as La Liga ambassadors.
The club wrapped up a torrid 2015-2016 La Liga campaign last Sunday in 12th place after garnering 44 points, behind champions Barcelona’s haul of 91. A dismal record of 11 wins and 16 defeats out of 38 matches saw managers Nuno Espirito Santo and Gary Neville sacked within a mere four months of each other.
This was in contrast to the previous season, where they finished fourth after 63-year-old Lim bought 70.4 per cent of the club’s shares in a S$657 million deal brokered in May 2014.
Valencia remains the third-most supported outfit in Spain behind titans Real Madrid and Barcelona, with six La Liga titles; seven Spanish cup wins and one UEFA Cup trophy to its name.