Dubai: Some of the biggest stars in international football gathered in Dubai this weekend for a friendly match held on the grounds of Dubai Sports World, inside the air-conditioned rooms of the Dubai World Trade Center in the part of the Dubai Fitness Challenge.
Organized jointly by the Dubai Sports Council and the Dubai Tourism and Trade Marketing Department, the players who participated in the match won every possible title in the world of soccer, including the FIFA World Cup, the European Championships, the League of the Year Awards.
The star-studded lineup included Portuguese legend Luis Figo, the 2000 Ballon d’Or and the 2001 World Player of the Year winner, considered one of the greatest to ever play the game; Carles Puyol, former captain of Spain and winner of the 2010 World Cup and the 2008 European Championships; and Dutchman Clarence Seedorf, who is the only player to have won the Champions League with three different clubs – Ajax (1995), Real Madrid (1998) and AC Milan (2003 and 2007).
Seedorf’s Dutch compatriot Patrick Kluivert, who holds the record for the youngest player to score in a main event final on the European continent, also took part in the match. He was just 18 years, 10 months and 23 days old when he came off the bench to score the Ajax winner in the 85th minute against AC Milan in the 1995 Champions League final.
Frenchman Eric Abidal, winner of two Champions League titles with Barcelona, also took over alongside former Spain and Real Madrid star Michel Salgado; Italian goalkeeper legend Walter Zenga, Ghanaian Sulley Muntari and Frenchman Ibrahim Ba.
Mikael Silvestre, the former defender of France, Manchester United and Arsenal, was also present, applauding his former teammates and rivals from the sideline as an injury prevented him from playing.
Saeed Hareb, general secretary and Nasser Aman Al Rahma, deputy general secretary of DSC, were present at the game with Omran Al Jasmi, director of external relations at the board.
The stars thanked Dubai for giving them this opportunity to reunite and reunite with friends they hadn’t met for a long time. The players who took part in the game all share a common love for Dubai and are either residents or regular visitors here. A number of them own properties and plan to invest in Dubai’s growing sports sector.