Football Stars Helping Autistic Children

From left: Luís Figo, Carlo Ancelotti, Ronaldinho and Christian KarembeuFrom left: Luís Figo, Carlo Ancelotti, Ronaldinho and Christian Karembeu

Luis Figo took home the bragging rights over Ronaldinho after his team of assembled all-stars beat the Brazilians 4-3 in the UEFA-United Nations Match for Solidarity in Geneva on Saturday.

Raul opened the scoring for Figo and Friends after Ronaldinho passed up the perfect opportunity to put his side ahead, after hitting the post with a penalty, the UEFA website wrote.

Arsenal legend Robert Pires doubled Figo men’s advantage early into the second half before Celia Sasic reduced the deficit moments later, netting her side’s first of the day.

Figo’s men scored again through Portuguese star Nuno Gomes, but a long-range Alexander Frei effort and Cafu shot leveled the scores for Ronaldinho’s legends, as the game looked to be heading towards a draw in the dying embers.

But it was Spain legend Michel Salgado who had the final say at the Stade de Geneve to ensure Figo and Friends recorded a 4-3 victory.

The match raised funds for charities supporting disabled kids, with proceeds going to the UEFA Foundation for Children and Autism Genève.

A glittering array of stellar football names was there to assist children in need when they took part in the joint match.

Ahead of the special charity match at the Stade de Genève, football legends Figo, Ronaldinho and Christian Karembeu joined eminent Italian coach Carlo Ancelotti in expressing their honor and pleasure at being able to support children with disabilities through the power and joy of football.

Proceeds from the match, as well as from a charity dinner and digital football auction, went to the UEFA Foundation for Children. Funds will be used to finance humanitarian and development projects to help children with disabilities at local and global levels.

“At this match, we are celebrating the values that we have learned from the moment that we started to play football,” said Figo before the match. “Diversity, teamwork, supporting people in need.”

 “I’m very happy to be taking part in the match, which features some of the great names in football history,” Ronaldinho added. “I hope that people will enjoy themselves at the game as well.”

The local beneficiary of the Match for Solidarity is Autisme Genève, a non-profit organization in the Swiss city which came about through an initiative started by parents whose children live with autism spectrum disorders.

Internationally, the funds raised will help support projects in Africa, Asia and South America. “I feel it’s very important to help people who need that help,” said Ancelotti, “and we’re all delighted to be able to help children in this way. I think it’s an important moment for UEFA and the UEFA Foundation.”

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