Train with the pros: how footballers like Michael Owen, Joe Cole and Eric Cantona are getting into travel

From kids’ soccer coaching with the stars to watching top clubs in iconic locations, Sasha Wood picks the best A-list football breaks around the world

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1. Bay for Boca in Buenos Aires

Eric Cantona’s new travel brand Looking FC transports fans to games in iconic destinations – from Boca Juniors in Buenos Aires to Raja Casablanca in Morocco. Trips include match tickets and behind-the-scenes stadium tours, while themed workshops and tactics briefings will get clients fired up for the game. Packages may also include visits to other hyped spots, such as a trip to Boca fan favourite pizza joint Banchero for fugazza.

Book it: Looking FC offers a four-night football package to Buenos Aires from €1,490.

2. Train with a pro in Portugal

For families with kids who are passionate about football, a holiday to Portugal with a coaching camp led by former England footballers such as Michael Owen and Joe Cole could be just the ticket. Football Escapes offers packages at the sporty and smart Quinta do Lago resort in the Algarve where Owen and Cole will coach kids aged 5-15 at the on-site Campus academy in August. Aspiring footballers will be sure to sharpen their ball skills at the week-long camp with three-hour daily sessions.

Book it: Football Escapes Camp at Quinta do Lago costs from £460 per week.
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3. Get sporty in Sardinia

Sardinia’s Forte Village is purpose-built for sporty holidays in the sun, with pro-level football facilities including four 5-a-side pitches and a full-sized football pitch with stands. The super-resort features a handful of four and five-star hotels spread across acres of landscaped and forested shoreline. For children aged 6-14, Forte Village is hosting a Real Madrid Football Academy, with experienced coaches from the club, this year until September 9.

Book it: Forte Village offers stays for a family of four from €663 per night on a half-board basis.

4. Go for goal in Greece

If chilling in the Greek sun while their kids perfect their stepover trick is more your clients’ thing, look to the coaching sessions by former pros at Ikos Olivia in Halkidiki, with courses in August led by Anton Ferdinand, Steve Sidwell and Billy Wingrove. And with five-star beachfront accommodation, Michelin-level food and a sparkling spa, parents can kick back in style.

Book it: Seven nights’ all-inclusive at Ikos Olivia costs from £6,763 for two adults and one child, including flights and one place on a five-day Football Escapes course.

PICTURES: Looking FC; Tyson Sadlo/Forte Village; Grifco/Quinta do Lago; Shutterstock/nacroba; Balance Photography.

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