Ronaldo, Zidane star in Match Against Poverty

Dec 18, 2012

A constellation of some 45 global football stars will join on December 19 in Porto Alegre, Brazil, to play in the United Nations Development Programme's (UNDP) 10th Match Against Poverty.

The friendly football match has been organized to raise awareness of global development challenges and funds through ticket sales, sponsorship and broadcast rights to support projects to help reduce poverty in Brazil and Africa.

"Our teams are here and our game plan is ready,” said Brazil's Ronaldo, who has been training hard over the last few weeks to be fully fit for the game.  “We are ready to play and sweat for this great cause."

The two teams of former and current stars will be respectively captained by UNDP Goodwill Ambassadors Ronaldo and Zinedine Zidane, who are close friends.

Among the legendary Brazilian players who will play are superstars Zico, Romario, Bebeto, Cafu and Roberto Carlos as well as European stars Salgado, Deco, Karembeu and Ljungberg.

The teams will be coached by two Brazilian World Cup winners:  Felipe Scolari, coach of the 2004 World Cup winning Brazil team and Carlos Alberto Parreira, coach of the 1994 World Cup winning team.

It will be refereed by Italian referee Pierluigi Collina, rated the world's top referee during his illustrious career.

"I am very excited to be here for the game,” said Rebeca Grynspan, Under Secretary General of the UN and UNDP Associate Administrator, who will represent the organization. “This 10th game is a special one. It shows how important the fight against poverty still is and also recognizes Brazil for its achievement in bringing down poverty and as an emerging global development actor."

Proceeds from the game will be evenly split between two youth-oriented projects - one in Brazil and one in Cape Verde, Africa.

The sold-out match – with more than 40,000 tickets sold - starts at 9 pm, local time on Wednesday.  It is expected to be broadcast in Brazil and globally, with the support of Canal France International, who will provide footage to all African national broadcasters for free.

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