France play Ukraine on 15 November in the first leg of the play-off battle to become one of the 32 teams that will travel to Brazil next year. On a visit to the Brazilian Embassy in Paris on Thursday 7 November, Ronaldo, a member of the Local Organising Committee (LOC), joked about how France are Brazil’s “bogey team” and declared that next year’s tournament will be the greatest FIFA World Cup™ of all time.
Also present at the meeting were Brazilian Minister of Sport Aldo Rebelo, French Minister of Sport Valerie Fourneyron, French Minister of Foreign Trade Nicole Bricq, and the Brazilian Ambassador to France, Jose Mauricio Bustani.
FIFA.com brings you the key statements from the event below.
Local Organising Committee (LOC) member Ronaldo
"It’s a pleasure to return to Paris. We have a really good relationship with France, although maybe not in terms of football, after the last few defeats we’ve suffered (laughs). My connection with Paris goes way back. I won a trophy here with Inter Milan, and had surgery on both my knees in the city.
Now I’m involved in an even bigger challenge as a member of the LOC. I played in four World Cups, but I had no idea how complicated it was to organise such an event. We’ve already achieved many of our goals, and the Confederations Cup was a big success. But we have to keep going. There is so much more to do.
I’m sure that the FIFA World Cup in Brazil will be the best ever. So buy your tickets now, and come and watch the World Cup at the home of football! I’m going to cheer for France against Ukraine, so that we can overcome the jinx and beat the French next year in Brazil (laughs)."
Brazilian Minister of Sport Aldo Rebelo
"The World Cup will have 12 host cities. Brazil is a country the size of a continent and so we will have games from Amazonas to Porto Alegre. Six of the 12 stadiums are already up and running, and the other six will be finished by the end of December.
Expectations are high because we’ve played in every World Cup and won five out of the 19 tournaments. And we have the highest goal scorer in World Cup history, though we mustn’t forget that the top scorer in one of the competitions, Just Fontaine, was French."
French Minister of Sport Valerie Fourneyron
"It’s impossible to forget the 1998 FIFA World Cup. It was a moment that brought the whole country together, and all football fans remember it so clearly. We felt such pride, and the sense of togetherness that you sometimes get at sporting events really made a difference to people’s lives.
It was a moment of true social and economic dynamism. This is what we are hoping for in Brazil, that the whole country can share this wonderful experience together. And of course I hope France qualify so that we can see each other again in Brazil."