More than 50,000 fans at the new Grêmio Arena in Porto Alegre, Brazil, saw Ronaldo's side beat Zinédine Zidane's team 3-2 in the tenth UEFA-backed Match Against Poverty on Wednesday night.
As goodwill ambassadors for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Ronaldo and Zidane each captained an XI in the annual friendly match aimed at mobilising the public in the fight against poverty. Ronaldo, who was suffering from leg injuries, kept his promise to play through the pain. "Playing this match was so important to me, I would have done it without legs," he said.
Ronaldo's star-studded selection scored with the last kick of the game – through Leandro Damião – to win in front of a sell-out crowd, with Cacá Ferrari and Bebeto also on target for the Brazilian's side. Zidane, who claimed his team's second goal after Falcão had also registered, said: "Playing in Brazil, the heart of football, for the first time and reuniting with my friend Ronaldo was a thrill. But we should always remember that our objective is to promote awareness in the fight against poverty."
The match was refereed by Italy's Pierluigi Collina, rated the world's top official during his illustrious refereeing career. Proceeds from the game – through ticket sales, sponsorship and broadcast rights – will be split evenly between two youth-oriented projects, one in Brazil and one in Cape Verde, Africa. The event was organised to raise awareness of global development challenges.
The UNDP partners with people at all levels of society to help build nations that can withstand crisis, and drives and sustains the kind of growth that improves the quality of life for everyone. With offices in more than 170 countries and territories, the UNDP offers global perspective and local insight to assist in empowering lives.
The Porto Alegre showpiece followed nine successful editions in Basle, Madrid, Dusseldorf, Marseille, Malaga, Fez, Lisbon, Athens and Hamburg.
Match Against Poverty details
Ronaldo & Friends Team
Danrlei, Dida, Cafú, Serginho, Réver, Junior Baiano, Roque Junior, Roberto Carlos, William, Lucas, Juninho Paulista, Zinho, Djalminha, Roger, Zico, Denilson, Ronaldo, Neymar, Leandro Damião, Bebeto, Cacá Ferrari, Edmundo, Paulinho.
Coach: Carlos Alberto Parreira
Zidane & Friends Team
Vítor Baía, Juliano Belletti, Diego Cavalieri, Emerson, Fernando Hierro, Míchel Salgado, Fernando Couto, Juan Pablo Sorín, Paolo Montero, Carlos Gamarra, Hidetoshi Nakata, Zinédine Zidane, Deco, Santiago Solari, Fredrik Ljungberg, Juan Román Riquelme, Christian Karembeu, Alex de Souza, Pedro Pauleta, Sebastián Abreu, Falcão, Mário Jardel.
Coach: Luiz Felipe Scolari
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