Global perspective Human stories

Ronaldo set to make return to soccer pitch as Goodwill Ambassador for UNDP

Ronaldo set to make return to soccer pitch as Goodwill Ambassador for UNDP

Goodwill Ambassador, Ronaldo
Football superstar Ronaldo will make his return to competitive soccer in his role as Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in an upcoming match in Milan dedicated to fighting poverty.

The 19 August match at the San Siro Stadium between InterMilan and Nigeria's champion club Enyimba will be the Brazilian champion's first full match since injuring his knee in April 2000. The proceeds of the contest, which will be broadcast in Italy by RAI and in Brazil by O Globo, will go to UNDP-selected projects aimed at fighting poverty in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

"I could not think of a better way to start the season other than in a single event that brings together two great motivations: football, which is my passion, and my responsibilities as Goodwill Ambassador for UNDP, in the service of the fight against poverty," Ronaldo said.

Appointed in February 2000 as UNDP Goodwill Ambassador for the fight against poverty, Ronaldo has also been working with the agency for nearly three years on the "Teams to End Poverty" campaign, raising public awareness and support for initiatives that push back poverty and appealing to governments to devote more resources to development aid for countries in need.

He travelled to Kosovo with UNDP to help educate the children of Gjakova and appeared with French World Cup hero Zinédine Zidane - who was himself appointed UNDP Goodwill Ambassador in March - in a UNDP poster campaign, which has appeared in almost 200 newspapers and magazines. The 19 August match will support the "Teams to End Poverty" campaign.

According to UNDP, 1.2 billion people live on less than a dollar a day, 325 million children do not go to school, 826 million people are malnourished, 2 billion people do not have access to electricity and poverty kills 30,000 children every day.

"We at UNDP salute Ronaldo for taking this initiative," said Abdoulie Janneh, Director of UNDP's Regional Bureau for Africa, underscoring the importance of the commitment of individuals like the football superstar in attaining the goal of halving global poverty by 2015. "We also applaud the F.C. Internazionale Milano and Nigeria's champion soccer club Enyimba for caring enough to use their athletic skills to raise money to support the efforts of men, women and children around the world to fight poverty and improve their lives."