DUBAI – Ronaldo and Ronaldinho, two of Brazil’s biggest stars of recent times, will go down memory lane at the 13th Dubai International Sports Conference in the New Year, sharing their experience of winning football’s ultimate prize – the FIFA World Cup.
Ronaldo and Ronaldinho were both part of the 2002 Brazilian squad in Japan and South Korea as the Selecao won their fifth – and last – World Cup title, defeating Germany in the title-match. Both Ronaldo and Ronaldinho sizzled in that campaign, with Ronaldo bagging the Golden Boot for his eight goals and Ronaldinho scoring a memorable goal in the quarterfinal against England – a stunning free-kick from almost 40 yards out over the floundering, unprepared and wrong-footed David Seaman.
The Brazilian duo will share the dais with the winning captain of the 1998 World Cup, France’s Didier Deschamps and Juventus’ star Blaise Matuidi, winner of the 2018 World Cup with the French team, in a session titled “The World Cup Experience and Value of Success” on January 2 at the Madinat Conference Centre in Madinat Jumeirah.
Known as “O Fenomeno” (The Phenomenon), Ronaldo was also a member of Brazil’s World Cup-winning team of 1994 and played a starring role in taking the team to the final at the 1998 World Cup, where they lost 0-3 to hosts France. Ronaldo is also a three-time winner of the FIFA World Player of the Year award (1996, 1997 and 2002) and also won the Golden Ball (player of the tournament award) at the 1998 World Cup. He is the second-highest goal-scorer for Brazil, behind Pele.
Ronaldinho is celebrated as one of the most-gifted – and entertaining - players of his generation, and one of the greatest of all time. Two FIFA World Player of the Year trophies (2004, 2005) and a Ballon d'Or adorning his shelf are a testimony to his audacious talents.
Deschamps, meanwhile, has the honour of being one of only three men in history, alongside Brazilian Mario Zagallo and Germany’s Franz Beckenbauer, to win the World Cup as both a player and manager. Having won the title at home in 1998, he was the Les Bleus boss earlier this year as they clinched the World Cup crown in Russia. He also holds the distinction of being one of only three players in football history to have won the trinity of the World Cup, European Championship and the Champions League as captain, alongside Beckenbauer and Iker Casillas.
The star-studded list for the 13th edition of Dubai International Sports Conference also includes Gianni Infantino, President of Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), who will be making his fifth consecutive appearance at DISC, which is a Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiative and is organised by Dubai Sports Council under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Sports Council.
Mr Infantino will be taking centrestage in the noon session titled, “More than a Game”.
The Dubai International Sports Conference has been bringing football’s top stakeholders together since 2006 for extensive discussions on challenges facing the ever-evolving world of football and on ways to develop and enrich the sport at the domestic, regional and international level.
The theme of the 13th edition is “Football and the Economy”, and the list of speakers also includes Zvonimir Boban, the Deputy Secretary General of FIFA who was captain of the Croatian team that finished third at the 1998 World Cup in France.
Boban will discuss “New Formats and Revenue Perspectives” alongside Ferran Soriano, CEO of English club Manchester City, and Miguel Angel Gil, CEO of Spanish club Atletico Madrid in the second session.
The Conference will open with a session titled, “Developing New Digital Strategies for the Football Sector”, where Peter Moore, CEO of English club Liverpool, Umberto Gandini, former CEO of Italian Club AS Roma, and Peter Hutton, Head of Live Sports at Facebook, will discuss strategies.
In the fourth session of the day, Qusay Al Fawaz, President of Saudi Arabia Football Federation, will discuss “The Economics of Clubs and the Value of Players: Asian Club Opportunities and Perspectives”, alongside Mahajan Vasudevan Nair, Head of the Club Licensing at Asian Football Confederation, and Abdullah Nasser Al Junaibi, the Chairman of UAE’s Pro League Committee.