UEFA Champions League winner Jerzy Dudek said that he felt "a major responsibility" after becoming a Friend of UEFA EURO 2012 during a ceremony in the Polish capital Warsaw.
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Former Liverpool FC and Real Madrid CF goalkeeper Jerzy Dudek was one of five new Friends of UEFA EURO 2012 who announced their commitment to the tournament as part of Poland's one year to go celebrations.
Capped 59 times by Poland, the 38-year-old Dudek said: "This is a big honour for me. I feel a major responsibility for making sure that guests visiting Poland will take the best memories back to their countries." The 2005 UEFA Champions League winner with Liverpool added: "I feel proud that I can present my home country to the international public. It's a huge event for all Polish people."
Dudek hopes the national team can rise to the challenge as they gear up for next summer's finals. "The way I see it, national coach Franciszek Smuda has finished the phase of selecting his players; now the focus is on playing together as much as possible," said Dudek. "The team needs to develop its own style. The positive thing is that the players feel more and more responsibility for their display at UEFA EURO 2012."
Actor Janusz Gajos, cabaret star Robert Górski, Muniek Staszczyk, the singer in Polish rock band T-Love, and stand-up comedian Marcin Daniec also became Friends of EURO at the conference in Warsaw. "I love football and I always get behind the Polish national team – I am very happy that they are playing better and better so I can finish joking about them in my stand-up shows," Daniec quipped.
One hundred people in Poland will be officially named as Friends of UEFA EURO 2012 – half of them public figures selected by the local organising committee (LOC), with the remaining spots destined for the general public via competitions open to all ages. Tournament co-hosts Ukraine will also nominate 100 Friends of EURO.