Julio Iglesias performing at the Dubai Media City in 2005. Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

“My life is to sing,” said Julio Iglesias.

The performer has stuck by those words. He has sold more than 300 million albums and created music in about 12 different languages. And he’s not done yet. The To All the Girls I’ve Loved Before hit maker just turned 75 on September 23 — and to celebrate, he’s headed back to the stage. Ahead of his show at the Dubai Opera on October 2 and 3, Gulf News tabloid! looks at a five little known facts about the Latin icon.

1. Did you know that the Grammy-winning singer was once a football star?

He played for Spain’s Real Madrid. Then came the accident that turned his life around — and made him into the star we know today. Partially paralysed for about two years after a run-in with a car at age 19, Iglesias lay bored until a nurse handed him a guitar. The strumming proved not only healing for his mind but also his body. He had found a new career. However, this does not mean he took the easy route. He once said: “I used to play football for Real Madrid, and to be on stage for two hours, I can tell you it takes the same amount of strength.”

2. Iglesias is nothing if not prolific.

In the 70s, he performed 41 concerts in 41 cities — in a span of 30 days. In so doing, he broke records. He also boasts a Guinness World Records for the Best-selling Male Latin Artist, which he won in 2013, and one for selling the most records in the most languages in history (in 1983). He has to date performed more than 5.000 concerts in 600 cities around the world. Phew! That sounds exhausting.

3. He’s getting a dedicated series.

Based on the memoir Confessable Secrets, written by his long-time friend and old manager Alfredo Fraile, the 13-episode Latin production is meant to capture the high and low notes of the self-proclaimed ladies’ man. When is it out? The date remains unannounced.

4. The Spanish megastar began his musical career believing that he was “a very bad singer”.

His focus was on playing the guitar. “I’m a little better now,” he was quoted as saying by media in 2012.

5. It’s tough to keep your star shining bright.

Especially if it’s on the Hollywood Boulevard. But Iglesias fans have come up with a way to pay tribute to him… using soap and water. A Facebook group named Julio Iglesias Star Polishers proudly claims that the Julio Iglesias Fan Club ‘have been dedicated to keeping his star clean since 1986’.

Did you know?

Julio Iglesias is father to a number of stars in their own right including — yes, you guessed it — Grammy-winning star Enrique Iglesias. While the younger Iglesias refused to use his father’s name to burst into showbiz, he has none the less made him quite proud. “The success my children have had has helped me immensely. I’ve showed them a certain respect for this career,” he has been quoted as saying.

Don’t miss it!

Tickets to see Julio Iglesias in concert at the Dubai Opera on October 2 and 3 start at Dh895.