Real Madrid CF stars Ronaldo and Zinedine Zidane have brought together 40 of the biggest names in football for a charity match tonight to support victims of poverty. The two stars will be on opposing sides for the game, which will take place in the Saint Jakob Park stadium, Basle under the title, 'Ronaldo & Friends versus Zidane & Friends'.
Funds raised from the match will go to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) - a project aimed at reducing poverty, hunger and disease, as well as addressing other human rights issues over the next eleven years.
Ronaldo said: "
It's a real thrill to have my friends join me to raise awareness and take a stand against the deprivation that plagues one-fifth of the world's population. Those who come to watch this match should also realise that they are taking an active part in helping bring hope back to people who are trying their very best to lift themselves out of poverty."
The benefit match has also been given full backing from FIFA, whose president Joseph S. Blatter said: "FIFA is very pleased to support this initiative. This match against poverty is remarkable because the wish to organise it came from two of the most outstanding players in the world, both former winners of the FIFA World Player Award. I am grateful to both Ronaldo and Zidane, and all their friends for their social commitment."
Ronaldo and Zidane have joined forces to put together two star-studded sides. The big names include David Trezeguet, Gianluigi Buffon, Alessandro Del Piero, Pablo Aimar and Patrick Vieira.
In the dug-out and shouting instructions to Zidane's XI will be Madrid coach Carlos Queiroz and FC Basel 1893 chief Christian Gross while guiding Ronaldo and company will be the all-Brazilian coaching partnership of Luiz Felipe Scolari and Carlos Alberto Parreira. Overseeing onfield matters will be Italian referee Pierluigi Collina.
All the tickets for the match have been sold and Ronaldo said: "
So far we have raised more than €1m that is already at the United Nations' disposal. The game is a sell-out so we are confident of a successful evening."
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