Football legends Kaka, Ronaldinho and Figo set to dazzle Dubai fans

The iconic players will compete in Football Legends League

By Leslie Wilson Jr

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Brazilian football legends Ronaldinho (right) and Kaka. — AFP file
Brazilian football legends Ronaldinho (right) and Kaka. — AFP file

Published: Wed 19 Jul 2023, 10:53 AM

Several of the greatest ex-football players of all time will be looking for one more shot at glory when they compete in the Legends Football League which is set to be launched in Dubai in November.

Scheduled to be held in collaboration with Dubai Sports Council (DSC) and event sponsors Danube, the tournament will be contested by six franchise-owned teams that have links to some of the world's most famous football clubs including Real Madrid, Barcelona, Arsenal, Manchester United, Paris Saint-Germain and Liverpool.

Players who will bring their magic to the first of its kind tournament are Luis Figo, Kaka, Ronaldinho, Roberto Carlos, Robin van Persie, Ryan Giggs, Mikel Obi and Wes Brown, along with several other stars of yesteryear.

The teams will also be coached by some of the biggest names ever including iconic English Premier League managers Sir Alex Ferguson and Sir Kenny Dalglish, with organisers already in discussions with other great football mentors.

Players, officials and sponsors at the launch of the Legends Football League at Danube Sports Complex. — Supplied Photo
Players, officials and sponsors at the launch of the Legends Football League at Danube Sports Complex. — Supplied Photo

Each team will include one Emirati football legend as well.

The Legends Football League was revealed at a press conference at Danube Sports World which was attended by Ali Omar, Director of Sports Events Dept. in Dubai Sports Council, tournament organiser Mohammed, and Adel Sajan, Group Managing Director, Danube and former Manchester United star Wes Brown and ex-Chelsea’s defensive midfielder John Obi Mikel.

The opening match, semifinals and final will all take place at Dubai’s Al-Nasr while the League will also visit cities in India, Singapore and the UK.

Obi, who played for Chelsea for a period of 11 years and is now a resident of Dubai, said he was ‘excited’ about mixing it up with some of the greatest names in football, once again.

“This is very exciting, to meet some of my friends again on the football pitch,” he said. “But once we cross that white line and the whistle blows it’s going to be different, serious.

“Deep down inside we all have that winning mentality, its built inside us, so it’s going to be very competitive, very entertaining,” the 36-year-old midfielder added.

Wes Brown, a youthful looking 43 who spent most of his career playing for Manchester United and Sunderland, said: “It's going to be a great tournament as it provides the platform for us to showcase what we can do at this point in our careers and that we can still compete.

“It starts off as fun, but that can change very quickly. This is a good concept and I think we are all committed to it, to have a great time and play some competitive football.”

DSC’s Ali Omar gave the legend’s concept a big thumbs up and said it contributed significantly to Dubai’s ever growing sporting landscape.

“Dubai always welcomes new initiatives and top sports stars,” he said. “The participation of football legends brings great value to the League which is a great addition to Dubai’s rich sports portfolio.

“We thank Danube and the sports clubs who have collaborated to make this great event happen and wish it all the success.

“The Council also endeavours to support all competitions in various sports, particularly those that have global appeal like the recent Global Chess League, World Padel League and Wheelchair Basketball World Championship”.

Mohammed, who conceptualised the Legend’s Football League and worked around the clock to ‘tie up all the loose ends’, said: “As a football fanatic I thought it would be a great idea to showcase some of football’s greats to today’s kids, many of whom may have no idea what the past era looked like.

“Dubai is the land of dreams, anything is possible here and anything you dream of becomes a reality. So, we put this together with the help of Sanjay Vector and 27th Sports investment.

“Hence doing it here makes a lot of sense as it gives something back to the community. We believe that it will be a good mixture because of the teams and the calibre of players from all parts of the world,” he added.

The franchise owners and teams are Buddy X - Buddy X Red Devils, Neptune Paris - Neptune World XI, Sky Consult- Sky Consult Gunners, KhiladiX - Khiladi Galacticos, GTH- GTH Masters and The Lion Book- Lion Pool Reds.

The tournament schedule will be released shortly.


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