Cristiano Ronaldo is expected to make his debut appearance when Real Madrid take to the training pitch today on the first leg of their Irish trip.
The world’s most expensive player, who transferred to the Spanish side for a record £80m earlier this month, will run out with teammates for three separate sessions at the luxurious Carton House in Kildare.
Ronaldo’s fee breaks the previous world-record of £56m, set earlier this summer, which Real Madrid paid for Milan’s Brazilian forward Kaka.
However, Kaka was not among the players who touched down in Dublin Airport last night for the nine-day session that will include a sell-out friendly game against Shamrock Rovers next Monday.
The south Dublin club – which has a capacity of 3,000 – was forced to construct an extra 7,000 seats for the fixture to accommodate the massive number of fans hoping to watch 24-year-old Ronaldo play his first game for the nine-time European champions.
Karim Benzema, Ruud van Nistelrooy and Gabriel Heinze are also expected to be among the big names playing.
However, fans maintain their upcoming League of Ireland matches are more important than the friendly.
Tony Berney, founder of Tallaght Hoops supporters club, said the match is a scoop for the area as well as Shamrock Rovers.
“Next week’s game will have a fantastic atmosphere,” he said. “It’s going to be hard obviously, but after all it is only a friendly game.
“I don’t want to rain on Ronaldo’s parade but as far as I’m concerned as a Rovers fan the priority is the league.”