Top footballers play in UNDP’s 10th Annual Match Against Poverty

Dec 20, 2012

Zidane, Neymar and Ronaldo during the 10th Annual Match Against Poverty at the new Gremio stadium in Porto Alegre, Brazil (Photo: Lucas Uebel/

Porto Alegre, Brazil — More than 50,000 football fans descended upon the new Gremio stadium in Porto Alegre, Brazil yesterday to watch Ronaldo's team beat Zinedine Zidane's team 3-2 in the 10th Annual Match Against Poverty, which was sponsored by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

UNDP Goodwill Ambassador and football legend Ronaldo - who was suffering from leg injuries - kept his promise to play despite the pain. “Playing this match was so important to me I would have still done it without legs,” he said.  It was his star-studded team that scored with the last kick of the game to clinch the match, with a goal by Damiao. 

Football legend Zidane, also a UNDP Goodwill Ambassador, scored the second goal of his team. “Playing in Brazil, the heart of football, for the first time and re-uniting with my friend Ronaldo was a thrill. But we should always remember that our objective is to promote awareness in the fight against poverty.”

“To have Ronaldo, Zidane and all these stars mobilise to fight this injustice is great,” said Rebeca Grynspan, UN Under-Secretary-General and UNDP Associate Administrator, who represented 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 friendly football match seeks to remind everyone that they are responsible for ensuring the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which were adopted in 2000 and re–affirmed by the leaders of 191 countries at the UN Summit in 2005. The MDGs seek to halve world poverty by 2015 by setting targets for rolling back hunger, disease, illiteracy, environmental degradation and discrimination against women.

The annual match - which was 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).

The Match in Porto Alegre follows nine successful editions that took place in Basel, Madrid, Dusseldorf, Marseille, Málaga, Fez, Lisboa, Athens and Hamburg.  Each year funds raised support specific development projects in different countries around the world.

All of the players and match officials donated their time.

Teams list:

Ronaldo & Friends team: Danrlei, Brazil - Dida, Brazil - Cafú, Brazil - Serginho, Brazil - Réver, Brazil – Junior Baiano, Brazil - Roque Junior, Brazil - Roberto Carlos, Brazil - William, Brazil - Lucas, Brazil - Juninho Paulista, Brazil - Zinho, Brazil - Djalminha, Brazil - Roger, Brazil - Zico, Brazil - Denilson, Brazil- Ronaldo, Brazil- Neymar, Brazil – Leandro Damião, Brazil - Bebeto, Brazil - CacáFerrari,Brazil - Romário,Brazil - Edmundo,Brazil - Paulinho, Brazil. Coach: Carlos Alberto Parreira, Brazil

Zidane & Friends team
Vitor Baía, Portugal - Juliano Belletti, Brazil - Diego Cavalieri, Brazil - Emerson, Brazil- Fernando Hierro, Spain - Michel Salgado, Spain - Fernando Couto, Portugal - Juan Pablo Sorin, Argentina – Paolo Montero – Uruguay- Carlos Gamarra, Paraguay- Nakata, Japan – Zinedine Zidane, France - Deco, Portugal - Santiago Solari, Argentina- Fredrik Ljungberg, Sweden - Riquelme, Argentina - Christian Karembeu, France - Alexde Souza, Brazil - Pedro Pauleta, Portugal - Loco Abreu, Uruguay - Hulk, Brazil - Falcão, Brazil- Mário Jardel, Brazil. Coach: Luiz Felipe Scolari, Brazil

Contact information

Aziyadé Poltier-Mutal; Mobile: + 41 79 3491610;

UNDP Around the world