Players from the Spanish top flight and second division united to support the fight against Ebola when they took part in the UEFA-backed Champions for Life match in Madrid.
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Sixty-six players from the Spanish top flight and second division came together to support a worthy cause over the festive season, when they took part in the UEFA-backed Champions for Life match in Madrid as part of the fight to combat Ebola.
The Estadio Vicente Calderón in the Spanish capital provided the stage for the charity event, with the players led from the dugouts by Serbia's former Club Atlético de Madrid star Milinko Pantić and Spain's Real Madrid CF legend José Antonio Camacho, who coached the West and East teams respectively.
The second Champions for Life match, organised by UNICEF Comité Español and the Fundación del Fútbol Profesional (FFP) and supported by UEFA, was a resounding success. More than €400,000 was raised for the fight against the disease in the African countries affected by the epidemic, as well as for other projects run by Spanish clubs in Sevilla, Nicaragua, Mozambique, Madagascar and other African countries.
Star players gave the event their full support. FC Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitić perfectly summed up what it means to participate in such causes, saying: "Helping out is very important, above all for youngsters. I'm a father, and I know how important that is. That is why we make the most of our holidays to take part in this kind of initiative."
"We want the people and, above all, young people who follow football, to be aware that we have to help everyone," said Atlético’s Raúl García. Camacho spoke of the sport's generosity: "With Champions for Life, football is giving charity to the needy once again."
Likewise, Valencia CF striker Rodrigo Moreno praised the collaboration between the institutions that made the event possible, adding: "We are in times of charity and family, and Champions for Life is amazing."
Under the maxim 'Celebrate Life', football and charity came together again for Champions for Life, a match that is much more than just 90 minutes of play and which promises to become an established event as the years go by. The presence of Spanish professional players once again shows the human feelings of football towards disadvantaged people.