Louis van Gaal is the latest high-profile football name to confirm his participation in Monday's 2010 Match Against Poverty in Lisbon which is backed by UEFA and will support the relief efforts in Haiti.
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UEFA Champions League-winning coach Louis van Gaal is the latest high-profile football name to confirm their participation in the 2010 Match Against Poverty in Lisbon on 25 January, which is backed by UEFA and will support relief efforts in Haiti.
Estádio da Luz spectacle
Van Gaal, who guided AFC Ajax to UEFA Champions League glory and now leads FC Bayern München, will join an illustrious lineup of players past and present in taking part in the annual United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) match at the Estádio da Luz. The proceeds of the game, launched on the initiative of former France and Brazil maestros Zinédine Zidane and Ronaldo, will go towards helping the people of Haiti following the earthquake of 12 January.
"The Haiti catastrophe has the world in shock and we cannot do enough to rid the world of poverty. It is a great honour to be able to contribute to such an urgent cause and it is a pleasure to lead such an outstanding group of players," said Van Gaal. The Dutchman will take charge of a stellar squad put together by Zidane and Ronaldo as they take on an SL Benfica All-Star XI in the Portuguese capital from 19.45 on Monday.
Four current internationals – FC Barcelona's Daniel Alves and Rafael Márquez, and Bayern's Ivica Olić and Anatoliy Tymoshchuk – have joined Van Gaal as new signings for the match. Sitting on the Benfica All-Star bench will be Jorge Jesus, head coach of a Benfica first-team squad fighting for the Portuguese Liga title. José Peseiro, the former Sporting Clube de Portugal boss now coaching Saudi Arabia, will assist Van Gaal.
A long list of footballing talents had already volunteered their services for the event, which has the backing of both UEFA and FIFA: Akwá (Angola), Kaká, Marcelo and Luciano da Silva (Brazil), Pavel Nedvěd (Czech Republic), Michael Laudrup (Denmark), Alfredo Esteves (East Timor), Graeme Le Saux (England), Zinédine Zidane, Fabien Barthez and Christophe Dugarry (France), Jean Sony and Joseph Peterson (Haiti), Baichung Bhutia (India), Edgar Davids and Phillip Cocu (Netherlands), Luís Figo, Fernando Couto and Pauleta (Portugal), Gheorghe Hagi and Gheorghe Popescu (Romania), Lucas Radebe (South Africa) and Fernando Hierro (Spain).
Solidarity in action
The Match Against Poverty is staged to raise awareness of development goals and to raise funds. UEFA President Michel Platini emphasised UEFA's support for the initiative, saying: "One of UEFA's key aims is to channel the immense popularity of the game into positive social forces. This match is a concrete example of solidarity in action. I am proud to lend my full support and UEFA's name to the seventh edition of the Match Against Poverty. This event demonstrates how football can be used in the fight against social ills such as poverty, exclusion and illiteracy."
The UNDP is the United Nations' global network to help people meet their development needs and build a better life, and the Match Against Poverty provides an ideal platform to highlight the challenge of addressing global poverty. "I am sure all those attending the Lisbon match will have a most enjoyable and rewarding evening," Michel Platini said, "knowing their presence will contribute to solutions that can make a real difference in peoples' lives."