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Brazil to host annual all-star UN charity soccer match featuring Ronaldo and Zidane

Photo: UNDP
Photo: UNDP

Brazil to host annual all-star UN charity soccer match featuring Ronaldo and Zidane

The Brazilian city of Porto Alegre will be the setting for the 10th annual United Nations all-star charity football game featuring some of the world’s top players, including legends Ronaldo and Zinédine Zidane, world body announced today.

As Goodwill Ambassadors for the UN Development Programme (UNDP), Ronaldo and Zidane will each captain a team for this friendly match aimed at mobilizing the public in the fight against poverty.

“The struggle against poverty is not a game,” said Ronaldo, who launched the Match Against Poverty with Mr. Zidane and UNDP 10 years ago. “But we use this match to raise both funds and awareness that the solution is in everyone’s hands. Working together we will all be winners in the Match Against Poverty.”

Zidane, who will play in Brazil for the first time, said that after 10 years of playing with Ronaldo he is excited to play against him and his friends at the Match Against Poverty. “Although it will be a friendly match, I very much look forward to playing against my old friend in Porto Alegre,” he said.

The match, which will be held at the Gremio Arena, follows nine successful contests held in Basel, Madrid, Dusseldorf, Marseille, Málaga, Fez, Lisboa, Athens and Hamburg. Proceeds from previous matches have benefited projects in more than 27 developing countries, including recovery efforts in the wake of the 2010 Haiti earthquake and last year’s devastating floods in Pakistan.

“At the tenth match we will use the proceeds to support solutions in my own country, as well as another programme in Africa in which Brazil is actively engaged in,” said Ronaldo.

UNDP Associate Administrator Rebeca Grynspan said the match is one of the highest profile and far-reaching events for UNDP and its partners. “As football is the world’s most popular sport and poverty is a global challenge, the match is a wonderful instrument to mobilize people around the world to support all efforts to ensure that everyone, everywhere, can lead healthy, productive and rewarding lives.”

This year’s match is being organized with 9INE Sports & Entertainment of Brazil. The annual event, which is televised globally, is supported by both football’s governing body, the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), and the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA).

In addition to Ronaldo and Zidane, other UNDP Goodwill Ambassadors include football stars Didier Drogba, Iker Casillas and Marta Vieira de Silva, Crown Prince Haakon Magnus of Norway, Japanese actress Misako Konno, Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova, and Spanish actor Antonio Banderas.