Khab he kick it? UFC champ Nurmagomedov reveals 'childhood dream' to be professional footballer, and for which team
Retired UFC lightweight champ Khabib Nurmagomedov has admitted he wants to swap the octagon for the pitch and play professional football, and says his ideal scenario would be to turn out for "dream club" Real Madrid.
The Dagestani Eagle has made no secret of his huge affection for football which began watching his local Russian team Anzhi Makhachkala, and has seen him frequently attend a number of high-profile Champions League matches around Europe, including at French champions Paris Saint Germain and Turkish team Galatasaray.
Recently Khabib paid Russian Premier League team Spartak Moscow a visit in their warm weather training camp in the Middle East, enjoying a kickabout with the team, which led to tongue-in-cheek rumors he would swap the octagon for the pitch.
“To play football on a professional level is a childhood dream. Of course I have such a wish. Football is the king of sports after all,” Khabib said in an interview broadcast on Russian sports broadcaster Match TV.Also on rt.com WATCH: Khabib FaceTimes Ronaldo as teammate jokes retired UFC champ is ‘putting serious football team together’
“Who haven’t I discussed this with! I’ve spoken even with the UEFA president Aleskandr Ceferin, with the owner of PSG, yes and even with Cristiano Ronaldo.”
Portuguese phenomenon Ronaldo presented Khabib with a personalized shirt when the former played for Spanish giants Real, and the two struck up a friendship centred on their mutual favorite sport.
Despite training with Spartak, and being indebted to local club Anzhi for instilling in him a passion for football, Khabib has only one team close enough to his heart to call his “dream club” - and it isn’t in his native Russia.
“Spartak? Spartak of course are great, but that’s domestic level. My dream club is Real Madrid. In fact the first match I remember watching the full 90 minutes, was Real vs Juventus in 1998 [Champions League final]. I remember Mijatovic scored from an offside position, but we still won,” the 32-year-old said.
Khabib and fellow MMA fighter Islam Makhachev have joked about putting a 'serious' football team together which have included dream selection Clarence Seedorf and Ronaldo, both of which Khabib classes as friends.