Thanks to the Arena Amazonia, currently under construction in the city of Manaus, the Amazonian rainforest will provide one of the backdrops to the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™. The stadium received a visit from FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke on Tuesday. Accompanying him were former Brazil striker Ronaldo, who sits on the Management Board of the Brazil 2014 Organising Committee (LOC), and the Executive Secretary of the Brazilian Ministry of Sport, Luis Fernandes. All three were impressed by what they saw.

The visiting delegation was welcomed to the Arena by the Deputy Governor of Amazonas Jose Melo, the Manager of UGP Copa Manaus Miguel Capobiango and by a number of local dignitaries. Together they took a close look at how work at the Manaus stadium, which will host four matches at Brazil 2014, is progressing.

This is what they had to say:

Jose Melo: “The government of Amazonas state has made every effort to meet all its FIFA World Cup commitments. This competition is a major showcase. The region needs to get on the map and the world needs to see the Amazonia. Manaus will have a hugely significant legacy after the FIFA World Cup.”

Luis Fernandes: “We made our last visit to Manaus in January and we can see how much work has come on here since then. The venue is overcoming the obstacles it faces and we are leaving here safe in the knowledge that the project will be completed soon and to the standard we are looking for.”

Jerome Valcke: “This is the first time I’ve been to the Amazonia, and it makes sense that Manaus should be one of the World Cup venues. It would be impossible to imagine a FIFA World Cup in Brazil without the Amazonia. It belongs to the world and the world needs it. We’re heading back today convinced that if work continues at the pace we’ve seen today, then we’ll have nothing to worry about.”

Ronaldo: “It’s an honour and a pleasure to return to Manaus. Work here is progressing very well, and we’re all certain that it will soon be completed. I’m so pleased to be back here to feel the warmth of the people of Amazonas. I also wanted to thank everyone here in Manaus for their ever-increasing participation in the Volunteer Programme.”