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United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Goodwill ambassadors Ronaldo and Zinedine Zidane grabbed some friends and took on an all-star side from Olympiakos for the eighth edition of the ‘Match Against Poverty’ on December 14 near Athens, Greece.

Zinedine Zidane plays charity soccer
Zinedine Zidane plays charity soccer

Organized to put a spotlight on the global fight against poverty, the soccer match raised funds to aid the nearly 25 million people affected by the Haiti earthquake in January and the Pakistan floods that started in July.

“I want to thank everyone who came to watch the match tonight – I know that it is not easy since Greece is going through an economic crisis,” said Zidane, adding that the goal is “to try to fight as a team so that there is no poverty in the world.”

SC Corinthians Paulista striker Ronaldo, who did not play due to injury, was in attendance none-the-less. “I am very happy to be here for this special match even though I can not take part in the game. I want to say a big thank-you to Olympiakos and to all the players who responded when we called on them and to the fans who came to see the game.”

The Friends of Ronaldo and Zidane featured such soccer greats as: Pierre van Hooijdonk (Netherlands), Ronald de Boer (Netherlands), Giovanni van Bronckhorst (Netherlands), Raul Albiol (Spain), Mohamadou Diarra (Mali), Ricardo Sa Pinto (Portugal), Sabri Lamouchi (France), Darko Kovacevic (Serbia), Antonis Nikopolidis (Greece), Nuno Gomes (Portugal), Cornel Rapa (Romania), Yaya Toure (Ivory Coast), Anthar Yahia (Algeria), Willam (Brazil), Silviu Ilie (Romania) and Marius Gaman (Romania).

The Olympiakos All-Star team was made up of both current and retired players such as Christian Karembeu, Darko Kovacevic, Alexandros Alexandris, Andreas Niniadis and Grigoris Georgatos.

The game, staged at Karaiskakis Stadium in Pireaus, drew a crowd of more than 30,000 spectators, and ended in a 2-2 draw.

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