Guest of honour at the 11th stop of the official FIFA Women's World Cup 2011™ Welcome Tour in Rio de Janeiro on Monday, 21 March was none other than Carlos Alberto, captain of the Brazilian FIFA World Cup™ winning team of 1970.
The legendary defender, who secured his place in fans' memories forever with a famous last goal in Brazil's 4-1 Final victory over Italy, attended at the invitation of OC President Steffi Jones, who appointed him an official Germany 2011 ambassador for Brazil.
"Securing the support of a world football icon further underlines the standing of the FIFA Women's World Cup. We couldn't have hoped for a better ambassador than Carlos Alberto," said the OC chief.
"The popularity of women's football has grown enormously in recent years, thanks in no small part to the success of our national team and such exceptional talents as Marta. As a good friend and former team-mate of Franz Beckenbauer from my time with the New York Cosmos, I feel a close association with Germany. The Women's World Cup 2011 is going to be just as great a festival as the men's World Cup in 2006, with full stadiums all round," explained Carlos Alberto.
As well as newly-nominated Super Fan Carlos Alberto, Steffi Jones also welcomed around 150 guests to the event at the Villa Riso, including General Secretary of the Brazilian FA Marco Antonio Teixeira, coach of the women's national team Kleiton Lima, President of traditional Brazilian club Vasco da Gama Roberto Dinamite, as well as Vice President of Botofogo Antonio Carlos Mantuano and women's national team players Cristiane and Aline Pellegrino.
Meeting with Zico
Another iconic Brazilian also took the opportunity to greet Steffi Jones in Rio as Zico invited the OC President to his football academy in the Barra da Tijuca district of the city.
"I was able to experience both the 2005 Confederations Cup and the 2006 World Cup in Germany as coach of the Japanese national team. Rarely have I seen such a fantastic atmosphere in stadiums and host cities. Our women's national team will really enjoy the enthusiasm and passion of the German public," said Zico.
OC President Jones was given a taste of the famous Brazilian ball skills almost immediately after landing in Rio, when Botofogo President Maricio Assuncao invited her to his club's derby match against Vasco on Sunday evening. She also took the opportunity to meet Pedra Bonita of the SOS Childrens Villages charity earlier in the afternoon. "Football gives young people in Brazil a lot of hope. They all dream of emulating their idols and it gives perspective for their futures," said Jones.
Further highlights of the OC President's trip included a meeting with the Vasco women's team at the Sao Januario stadium and a discussion with OC Executive Director for the 2014 FIFA World Cup™ Joana Havelange and Head of Communications Saint Clair Milesi.
The next stop on the FIFA Women's World Cup 2011 Welcome Tour is Colombia on 23 March 2011.