Madrid: Israeli President Shimon Peres hailed Real Madrid as a "symbol of peace" on Thursday during a visit to the Spanish giant's training grounds.
"I want you to know the depth of the love of all our boys and girls for Real Madrid. You are their heroes. They would like to be like you," the Nobel Prize-winning Israeli leader told the squad during his visit.
"They can make a distinction between playing football and playing war. They have not had much peace, for them Real Madrid is a symbol of peace.
"Football doesn’t distinguish between black and white. It is the speed of your legs, not the colour of your legs that makes a difference," he added.
Peres, 87, was greeted by Real president Florentino Perez when he arrived at Real's training grounds at Valdebebas just outside Madrid.
He then met with the Cristiano Ronaldo and the rest of the squad on the pitch and keeper Iker Casillas gave him a black and white jersey bearing the Israel leader's name and a large number one.
"It is a pleasure to meet you, I admire you a great deal," Peres told Casillas as he shook his hand, images on the club's TV station showed.
Peres, the co-winner of the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to create peace in the Middle East, wrapped up a four-day official visit to Spain on Thursday to mark 25 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations between Spain and Israel.