Tennis legend Rafael Nadal was in Madrid last Sunday to watch his beloved football club Real Madrid in action and was photographed meeting club president Florentino Perez.
Nadal, winner of 22 Grand Slams, including a record 14 French Open crowns, was in the stands at the lavishly constructed Santiago Bernabeu to support his favorite football team, Real Madrid, who fought back from a goal down to defeat Real Sociedad and moved to top of the La Liga table.
The manner of victory was symbolic of Nadal’s battling qualities on the tennis courts, digging deep and turning matches around when you least expect it. The 37-year-old was in fine spirits, sitting among the club’s dignitaries in the VIP box and was pictured waving to the fans.
Nadal is a diehard Real Madrid supporter and always makes time to watch them play at the stadium when he is away from the ATP Tour. He met with the club president, Florentino Perez, before the match, shaking hands and seemingly exchanging pleasantries.
The 37-year-old is rumored to be the next President of Real Madrid, replacing the incumbent Perez, who, at 76, is inching closer to retirement, as reported by the Spanish tabloid Sport. Perez is also rumored to have handpicked the tennis icon as his replacement.
Nadal’s long-term future in tennis is far from certain. A few months ago, he revealed his intention to play one more year on the professional scene before hanging up his racket for good at the end of the 2024 season. But his ex-coach and uncle, Toni Nadal, feels his nephew might change his mind if his recovery goes as planned and gets consistently good results.
So far, Nadal has stepped up his efforts in his recovery process. He hasn’t started tennis training just yet, but has been to the gym, taken part in a golf course, and shared a photo of himself swimming in recent weeks. His target is to return at next year’s Australian Open.