An A list of footballers were in Lisbon for the Match Against Poverty, a United Nations Development Programme event, backed by UEFA, which Zinédine Zidane and Ronaldo helped to organise.
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An A list of footballing talent was on show in Lisbon on Monday night for the seventh edition of the Match Against Poverty, a United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) initiative, backed by UEFA, which Zinédine Zidane and Ronaldo helped to organise.
Show of support
Sixty international footballers and more than 50,000 spectators turned out for the match at SL Benfica's Estádio da Luz, with all proceeds from the UNDP event being directed towards relief and reconstruction efforts in Haiti. A minute's silence was observed before kick-off in memory of the victims of the earthquake that struck Haiti on 12 January.
Making a difference
Former France playmaker Zidane, who as a UNDP goodwill ambassador assisted in organising the game in the Portuguese capital, said: "Every time we get together for this match, we can help and make a difference. We can't stress enough the importance of mobilising people for the recovery of the disaster in Haiti and for the ongoing projects we have with the UNDP."
For Haiti's sake
A stellar squad put together by Zidane and his fellow UNDP goodwill ambassador Ronaldo – the Brazilian centre-forward whose club commitments with SC Corinthians meant he was represented by compatriot Kaká – played out a 3-3 draw against a Benfica All-Star XI, watched by a 51,312 crowd. "I think Haiti needs everybody's support right now," said Kaká, the Real Madrid CF attacker.
FC Bayern München coach Louis van Gaal, assisted by José Peseiro, formerly of Sporting Clube de Portugal, took charge of the Friends of Ronaldo and Zidane, for whom Kaká, Robert Pirès and Baichung Bhutia were the goalscorers. Nuno Gomes with a brace and Éder Luís were on target for a Benfica team led by the Lisbon outfit's current head coach Jorge Jesus and former boss Toni.
The Match Against Poverty, which has UEFA and FIFA backing, raises funds for global efforts to reduce poverty while also spotlighting the invaluable work of the UNDP. It was broadcast live in more than 60 countries, and all income accruing from tickets, sponsors, broadcasting rights and direct donations will, for this seventh edition, support the devastated population of Haiti. Wilfried Lemke and Bruce Jenkins of the UNDP said: "It was a marvellous occasion. We are truly grateful to Zidane and Kaká, colleagues and friends, and also to Benfica. It's important that successful people like footballers have this commitment to helping the poor."
The players included two Haitian footballers based in Portugal: SC Braga's Joseph Peterson and Jean Sony of Leixões SC. Peterson said: "It was a massive gesture and I felt support from all the people in the dressing room. Beside all these players being here, the financial support is the most relevant thing for the people who suffered in the earthquake."
The Friends of Ronaldo and Zidane were: Akwá (Angola); Daniel Alves, Kaká and Luciano da Silva (Brazil); Ivica Olić (Croatia); Pavel Nedvěd (Czech Republic); Michael Laudrup (Denmark); Alfredo Esteves (East Timor); Graeme Le Saux (England); Fabien Barthez, Christophe Dugarry, Thierry Henry and Robert Pirès (France); Jens Lehmann (Germany); Joseph Peterson and Jean Sony (Haiti); Baichung Bhutia (India); Rafael Márquez (Mexico); Phillip Cocu, Edgar Davids and Patrick Kluivert (Netherlands); Fernando Couto, Luís Figo and Pauleta (Portugal); Gheorghe Hagi and Gheorghe Popescu (Romania); Anatoliy Tymoshchuk (Ukraine); Lucas Radebe (South Africa); Fernando Hierro (Spain); and Amer Abdulrahman (UAE).
The Benfica All-Star XI comprised much of the current squad along with Fabrizio Miccoli (US Città di Palermo), Giorgos Karagounis, Kostas Katsouranis (Panathinaikos FC), Miguel and Manuel Fernandes (Valencia CF). A number of retired Benfica old boys also participated: Rui Costa, Chalana, Karel Poborský, Abel Xavier, Valdo, Mozer, Stefan Schwarz, Mats Magnusson, Nené, Rui Águas, Minervino Pietra, Shéu, Humberto Coelho, Vítor Paneira, Neno, Hélder, Pedro Valido, Paulo Madeira, Abel Silva and Dimas.