Shanghai - A glittering array of
football legends took the positive message of the beautiful game to the Chinese
youth as part of the Laureus Shanghai Football Campus Tour on the eve of the
Laureus World Sports Awards on Tuesday.
Fabio Capello, Ruud Gullit, Carles Puyol,
Louis Saha and Sun Wen all took part in a football project at Datong Middle
School, supported by the Shanghai Municipal Government and the Laureus Sport
for Good Foundation.
The global stars inspired 400 high school
students from the Shanghai School Football League (SSFL) and held a special
on-field clinic with 60 student footballers as part of the goal of encouraging
Chinese teenagers to become more active and participate in football.
“Football has given all of us so much to be
thankful for, and it’s an honour to give something back through Laureus and
hopefully inspire the next generation,” said Laureus Ambassador and current
Russian national team coach Capello.
The football stars are in Shanghai to honour
the greatest sportsmen and sportswomen of the year at the Laureus World Sports Awards at the Shanghai Grand Theatre
on April 15.
Founded in January 2012, the
Shanghai School Football League (SSFL) has a vision to enhance the development
of football in Shanghai and grow the number of youth footballers. The SSFL is
governed by the Shanghai Municipal Education Committee, led by the Shanghai
Municipal Sports Bureau, and consists of various organisations, schools and
government departments all committed to the development of football amongst the
youth. The SSFL currently includes 17 universities, 29 high schools, 91 middle
schools, 133 primary schools, and 280 organisations from 16 districts. Up to 10
000 footballers fall under the SSFL, and the organisation hosts 2 000 matches
annually during its nine-month season.
As a group, the credentials of the football
stars certainly inspired the students.
Laureus Ambassador Fabio Capello is one of
the game’s great managers and is currently in charge of the Russian national
team. He has managed AC Milan, Real Madrid, Roma, Juventus and England.
Fellow Laureus Ambassador Ruud Gullit
personified the concept of ‘Total Football’ as one of the stalwarts of the
Netherlands team that won the 1988 European Championship under his captaincy.
He was twice a European Cup winner with AC Milan.
Carles Puyol spent
his entire 15-year career as an outstanding defender and eventually club
captain at FC Barcelona. He was also an important member of the Spanish national
team that won the 2008 European Championship and the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
French international Louis Saha holds the
record for the fastest goal ever scored in an FA Cup Final, after 25 seconds,
for Everton. Among his other teams were Metz, Fulham and Manchester United.
And Sun Wen is one of the most inspiring
players in the history of women’s football, playing 152 times for China. She
was voted the FIFA Female Player of the Century in 2000.
Former Barcelona footballer Carles Puyol of Spain kicks a ball from the stage watched by (L-R) Laureus World Sports Academy member Alexey Nemov, Laureus Chairman Edwin Moses, Zhao Wen, Vice Mayor of Shanghai, Xiao Guiyu, Laureus World Sports Ambassador Fabio Capello, Laureus World Sports Academy member Daley Thompson and former footballer Louis Saha of France during a Laureus Shanghai Football Campus Tour prior to the Laureus World Sports Awards 2015 at Datong Middle School on April 14, 2015 in Shanghai, China. (Photo by Feng Li/Getty Images for Laureus)