On the first stop of the third Host City tour of 2013, the progress made in the construction work at Natal’s Estadio das Dunas came in for praise from FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke.

The latter visited the arena in the company of Ronaldo and Bebeto, LOC Board of Administration members and 2014 FIFA World Cup™ ambassadors, as well as the Executive Secretary of Brazil’s Ministry of Sport, Luis Fernandes. The delegation were welcomed by Rosalba Ciarlini, Governor of Rio Grande do Norte, and the Mayor of Natal, Carlos Eduardo Alves.

Once inside the stadium, the group accompanied Valcke in the symbolic handover of 2014 FIFA World Cup tickets to three workers taking part in the construction project at the Estadio das Dunas. Looking on were hundreds more workers, who greeted the visiting party and listened to words of thanks from both Bebeto and Ronaldo, with the pair also accompanied by another ex-Brazil international in Marinho Chagas – a veritable idol on the local football scene.

Workers involved in the works at the 12 stadiums to be used at the 2014 FIFA World Cup will be given tickets for a game to be held at their respective venues. 

The Estadio das Dunas, which is set to host four games at Brazil 2014, all group matches, is scheduled to be officially unveiled in December 2013. The first of those four games will take place on 13 June 2014.

Following a meeting with local authorities and the stadium visit, the delegation took part in a press conference, with FIFA.com on hand to bring you the highlights:

Jerome Valcke, FIFA General Secretary
“We’re certain that the stadium will be handed over on time and that the mobility works will be completed. Natal and Rio Grande do Norte have shown great commitment right from the start, and for that reason it’s a pleasure to be here. I’d also like to thank the workers, as we’re going to have a great arena for the FIFA World Cup.”

Luis Fernandes, Executive Secretary of Brazil’s Ministry of Sport
“This visit has reinforced the monitoring that we’ve been carrying out and also brings reassuring news: that progress on the stadium is running ahead of schedule. That proves the level of integration between the state and the city council, who’ve understood that an event which launches the city’s profile across the whole planet is an opportunity that can’t be missed.”

Rosalba Ciarlini, Governor of Rio Grande do Norte
“The FIFA World Cup is a great opportunity and the workers are going to be able to be a part of that. Not just through working on the stadium’s construction but also by attending games in Natal, one of our country’s real delights. I want to invite Bebeto and Ronaldo to come back here again for the stadium’s unveiling, as we’re going to hand it over on time.”

Carlos Eduardo Alves, Mayor of Natal
“It’s our duty and our obligation to make sure our city makes the most of this FIFA World Cup period. We’ve not had a moment like this in the past and it’s unlikely we’ll get one again in the future.”

Bebeto, LOC Board of Administration member
“When I was here last all I could see were pilasters (rectangular columns). This time I got the pleasant surprise of seeing a stadium that’s becoming ready, which makes me really happy. I’m from the north-east and very proud of it, and I want to see my region shine.”

Ronaldo, LOC Board of Administration member
“We always get a very good welcome in Natal and now it comes with marvellous news about the stadium and the works on the surrounding area, the part which will remain as a legacy. We’re hoping to put on the best FIFA World Cup of all time and, for that to happen, we’re hoping for and need everyone to pull together.”