Engaging more with the football world and getting football back to the heart of FIFA is a mission that’s high on the agenda of President Gianni Infantino as world football's governing body enters a new era.
In the days leading up to the 66th FIFA Congress in Mexico City, some of the world’s finest footballers gathered in the capital city to promote and support football, take part in a football policy thinktank, visit social projects and play in an exhibition match: FIFA Legends v Mexican All-Stars.
In the beautiful setting of the iconic Azteca Stadium, where Argentina clinched their last FIFA World Cup™ title 30 years ago, some of football’s finest players strapped on their boots again for a friendly 9-a-side match.
Former world champions like Alessandro Altobelli, Marcel Desailly, Ronaldinho, Fabio Cannavaro and Carles Puyol mixed alongside stars of the women’s game, including FIFA Women’s World Cup™ winners Mia Hamm and Renate Lingor. Having played thousands of matches at the very highest level of the game, this group of 31 former champions now want to give something back to football and society, as well as support FIFA in its work to promote and develop the game, on and off the pitch.
In a fun, relaxed atmosphere to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Azteca stadium, the final result of the friendly was only of secondary importance. The Mexicans won 9-8 and both sets of players proved they have lost little of their spark. The game was a fantastic showcase of some football greats, as Pablo Aimar and Francisco Fonseca netted three goals for the respective teams. Both teams showed some great skills in scoring the goals and notably Ronaldinho showed off with his unique technique, drawing spontaneous applause from the spectators.
“I’m very happy to be here, in this iconic, monumental Stadium,” said FIFA President Gianni Infantino, who watched the match on the bench alongside Jose Mourinho and witnessed an entertaining goal fest.
All players will also participate in the FIFA Congress that will start on Thursday 12 May with the Opening Ceremony.
FIFA Legends Team 1: Jorge Seré – Michel Salgado, Alexis Lalas, Ciro Ferrara – Geremi, Sissi – Luís Figo – Dwight Yorke, Sami Aljaber
Team 2: Jorge Seré - Fabio Cannavaro, Fernando Hierro, Alexey Smertin - Clarence Seedorf, Sun Wen - Zvonimir Boban - Pedrag Mijatovic, Mohamed Aboutrika
Team 3: Jorge Seré - Michel Salgado, Marcel Desailly , Mehdi Mahdavikia - Demetrio Albertini, Renate Lingor – Ronaldinho - Pablo Aimar, Mia Hamm
Team 4: Silvino - Dario Simic, Carles Puyol, Mercy Akide - Hidetoshi Nakata, Sara Walsh - Luís Figo - Samuel Eto’o, Alessandro Altobelli
*Coaches: *Carolina Morace, José Mourinho
Mexico Allstars: Oswaldo Sanchez, Alberto Rodriguez, Juan de Dios Ramirez Perales, Monica Gonzalez, Miguel España, Monica Vergara, Benjamin Galindo, Alberto Garcia Aspe, Jared Borgetti, Iris Mora, Braulio Luna, German Villa, Luis Hernandez, Francisco Fonseca, Luis Roberto Alves, Jorge Campos, Manuel Negrete
*Goalscorers *1:0, 3:0 Luis Figo
2:0 Dwight Yorke
3:1 Jared Borgetti (Mex)
3:2, 5:7 Luis Hernandez (Mex)
3:3, 5:5, 5:6 Francisco Fonseca (Mex)
3:4 Manuel Negrete (Mex)
4:4, 5:4, 6:7 Pablo Aimar
7:7 Alessandro Albertini
8:8 German Villa (Mex)
8:9 Jorge Campos (Mex)