Continuing its support of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), UEFA has again set aside €100,000 for a player from the UEFA.com users’ Team of the Year poll to present to the ICRC. In recognition of the fact that no player has been voted onto more UEFA.com users’ Teams of the Year than he has (seven), this year’s cheque will be presented by Cristiano Ronaldo.
Peter Gilliéron, a member of the UEFA Executive Committee, will hand over the cheque to the Real Madrid CF forward before the start of today’s UEFA Champions League round of 16 first-leg match against Manchester United FC at Estadio Santiago Bernabéu in Madrid. For the sixth time, this money will be going from the hands of a UEFA.com users’ Team of the Year player to one of UEFA’s long-standing partners, the ICRC. The donation will support the Red Cross's physical rehabilitation programme for land-mine victims in Afghanistan. Peter Gilliéron said: “Afghans have a passion for football. The ball plays a key role not only in football, but also in the rehabilitation process of landmine victims. We thank Cristiano Ronaldo for passing on the “ball”, scoring for the Red Cross.”
UEFA began its partnership with the ICRC, including the backing of the ICRC anti-landmine campaign, in 1997. All money donated goes to the Score for the Red Cross initiative in support of the ICRC rehabilitation project for land-mine victims in Afghanistan – providing artificial limbs, physiotherapy and vocational training. The ICRC scheme has helped more than 95,000 mine victims and other disabled people since it was established in 1988.
Before donating his UEFA award money to Caroline Welch-Ballentine from the ICRC, Portuguese international Ronaldo said: “The people who go to the stadium, they really love football and therefore it’s with great pride and with a lot of joy that we receive that prize, with it having been voted on by the fans. For me it’s an honour to participate in social acts to help those who need it the most. To be able to help others makes me extremely happy.”
The 28-year-old received 255,803 individual votes to win a forward place alongside FC Barcelona striker Lionel Messi in the UEFA.com users' select XI.
Ms Welch-Ballentine, ICRC director of human resources, said: “This money will help us to help people who have lost limbs to landmines in Afghanistan. Every month, over 60 people there are killed or injured by these horrific devices. Last year alone at our seven physical rehabilitation centres in Afghanistan, we fitted 1,218 amputees with artificial limbs and taught them to walk again.”
A record 5.3 million votes were cast in selecting the UEFA.com users' Team of the Year 2012, and the following players were selected:
Iker Casillas (Real Madrid CF & Spain), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid CF & Spain), Gerard Piqué (FC Barcelona & Spain), Thiago Silva (AC Milan/Paris Saint-Germain FC), Philipp Lahm (FC Bayern München & Germany), Andrés Iniesta (FC Barcelona & Spain), Xavi Hernández (FC Barcelona & Spain), Andrea Pirlo (Juventus & Italy), Mesut Özil (Real Madrid CF & Germany), Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona), Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid CF & Portugal).
More information on the UEFA.com users’ Team of the Year 2012 is available online at http://uefa.to/11n4bJz
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