Brazil’s Ronaldinho and a number of different former prime footballers performed an exhibition match in Pakistan on Saturday in a push to encourage individuals within the cricket-mad nation to take up the sport.
Lately-retired Ronaldinho, who graced the Barcelona shirt in his prime, informed reporters he needed to “present a very good present” within the nation, which is trying to entice extra worldwide stars as safety improves.
“Thanks for all of the admiration and treating me so properly,” he stated forward of a match in Karachi, the primary of two video games within the journey.
The group dubbed “Ronaldinho and associates” additionally consists of former Manchester United stalwart Ryan Giggs, former England goalkeeper David James, Dutch star George Boateng, former French gamers Robert Pires and Nicolas Anelka, and Portuguese participant Luis Boa Morte.
Followers thronged to the Karachi stadium for the match late Saturday, with some travelling lengthy distances for the uncommon probability to observe the footballing greats.
“I set off early this morning for Karachi,” Mohammad Yaqoob advised AFP.
“I’m right here for the love of soccer and Ronaldinho.” Scholar Bilal Malik, who had include a gaggle of associates, stated the Brazilian participant was the star of the match, which additionally included homegrown gamers.
“His expertise are thoughts-boggling. I need to see him play reside earlier than my eyes,” he stated.
Pakistan boasted a prime place in Asian soccer till the early Nineteen Seventies, however a scarcity of presidency help and poor infrastructure helped push them to as little as two hundredth within the FIFA soccer rankings.
The sport is rising in reputation as soon as extra, nevertheless, even in a rustic obsessive about cricket.
Ronaldinho, 37, who gained the Ballon d’Or in 2005 as soccer’s greatest participant of the yr and who was a part of the 2002 World Cup profitable workforce, stated he’s on a goodwill mission aimed toward inducing kids to play the sport.
Giggs, who retired in 2014, stated he had heard the nation had ample footballing expertise and was house to a robust Manchester United fanbase.
“I shall be comfortable if I encourage the youth, which is my job,” he stated.
Pakistani organisers — Leisure League, a subsidiary of World Group — hope to each promote soccer, and sign that safety has improved within the militancy-plagued nation.
Officers need to welcome again worldwide sport, which fled the nation after an assault on the Sri Lankan cricket group in 2009.
The Pakistani Military is deploying troops in and round motels, airports and stadiums over the weekend, officers have stated.
Arriving early Saturday by personal jet, the gamers have been hosted for lunch by military chief Basic Qamar Javed Bajwa, who expressed hope that the go to can be the primary of many.
“Pakistan is a peace loving nation and we love sports activities,” he stated.
The group will play a second exhibition match in Lahore on Sunday.
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