Madrid - Spanish giants Real Madrid has agreed a long-term strategic partnership with a state investment fund from oil-rich Abu Dhabi that will help fund a planned stadium overhaul, the two parties announced Tuesday.
The agreement with International Petroleum Investment Co (IPIC) also involves expanding the club's football schools around the world, developing traveling museum exhibitions and creating digital media content.
Both sides had agreed not to release details relating to the length and value of the deal, IPIC said in a statement.
"This is the beginning of a long relationship and the start of a powerful alliance that could be key to us meeting one of our greatest challenges: turning the Santiago Bernabeu stadium into the greatest stadium in the world," said Real president Florentino Perez.
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"This alliance will also strengthen the club's heritage. It will help develop the Museum in such a way that Real Madrid can hold international exhibitions so that fans are able to see the Museum's contents wherever they may be," he told a news conference.
Real Madrid, the world's richest football club, has selected a design led by German architects GMP to revamp its iconic stadium, which opened in 1947 and seats just over 81,000 spectators.
The refurbishment of the stadium is expected to cost 400 million euros and involve building a new exterior and adding a retractable roof.
The club hopes the overhaul can be completed by 2017.
A Spanish court has ruled that a deal between the club and Madrid city hall, which would allow land adjacent to the stadium to be incorporated into the project, should be suspended because the European Commission is examining it for possible illegal state aid. Real has appealed.
"This long-term agreement is designed to provide Real Madrid with the commercial means, not just to build the world's greatest sports venue, but also to spread Real's heritage and football ethos around the globe," IPIC managing director Khadem Al Qubaisi said.
Real stars Iker Casillas, Cristiano Ronaldo, Marcelo, Pepe and Gareth Bale stood alongside Perez and Al Qubaisi for the announcement of the deal at the club's stadium.
Real remained the world's richest football team for the ninth consecutive year in the 2012-13 season when its turnover reached 518.9 million euros ($660million), according to an annual ranking published by Deloitte.
The club earned 119 million euros thanks to tickets, 188.3 million euros for television rights and 211.6 million euros thanks to advertising, sponsorship and merchandising.
Real last year agreed a five-year shirt sponsorship deal with Dubai-based airline Emirates that Spanish media reported was worth 30 million euros a season.