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Perfect conditions found in Ireland
by Paul Kennedy, July 16th, 2009 7AM



Real Madrid, which will head to North America next month to face Toronto FC and D.C. United in preseason exhibitions, chose a remote Irish estate dating back to the 1100s as the site of its first week of summer training with new signing Cristiano Ronaldo.

Golf is a main attraction at Carton House, which lies on the 1,100-acre estate 15 miles west of Dublin and boasts two golf courses.

But it has gone in the soccer business, installing a field with a state-of-the-art playing surface, complete with an irrigation system identical to that at Manchester United's Old Trafford.

If Real Madrid wanted peace and quiet for Ronaldo's first week with the club, it got it.

The hundreds of fans who showed up to practice were turned away.

Irish sports management firm Platinum One has gone into the business of promoting Ireland and Scotland as summer training meccas for big teams seeking good facilities and good weather -- and more of all quiet.

Real Madrid players liked the change of pace from steamy Madrid when they were greeted with rain showers on Monday,

"They are perfect conditions for our preseason," said defender Michel Salgado.

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