Ronaldinho and Friends visited Pakistan.

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image source: Getty

Ronaldinho and Friends.

Gone are the days when, the name of Pakistan appeared in the news headline for an act of terrorism or for a bad purpose. The today’s Pakistan is totally different from the previous year’s one. The Pakistan today is growing hugely and moving towards a bright future. The recent held activities in Pakistan endorsed my lines. Earlier in this year, the final of Pakistan’s biggest cricket festival P.S.L held in Lahore as I’ve also wrote in my previous blogs, was the beginning to show the soft image of Pakistan in the World. Not only, that final match was finished on a high and positive note but also received unpredictable appreciations from all around the World. People belonging to different parts of the World and famous renowned News agencies focused their eye on the P.S.L final and highlighted it in a fabulous manner.


Video source: Youtube

Ronaldinho confirmed his visit to Pakistan.

Following the footsteps of this remarkable achievement, Leisure Leagues (a private football organization club) in Pakistan decided to bring some star footballers to Pakistan which helps to promote the passion of football in Pakistan. However they had announced 6 month earlier, that football legends including the Brazilian famous footballer Ronaldinho and others will visit Pakistan in the mid of 2017. Off course, it’s not less than good news for the Pakistan and the Pakistani’s. According to the schedule, Ronaldinho and his Friends will participate in a 2 match exhibition series played in Karachi and Lahore.



image source: getty images

Volunteers install advertising boards in the stadium.

As the date of this event gets confirmed, the crazy fans rushed towards the ticket bank to get their place booked. The Ronaldinho and Friends were featured first in Karachi on 8th July and Lahore on very next day. The preparations of this event were handled by the team Leisure Leagues. The brand promotions, marketing and advertisement, all were done in a superb manner to witness a historic match at Abdul Sattar Edhi Stadium Karachi.

Ronaldinho and Friends arrived in Pakistan.

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The arrival of Ronaldinho and friends.


The day has come finally when Ronaldinho and Friends arrived in Pakistan. There were very tight security arrangements on their arrival arranged by Pakistan Army and this event only became possible after the security clearance. A number of delegates and people were gathered to say welcome to all the players. Arriving early Saturday by Private Jet, the eight players group first arrived at Islamabad Airport from where they went for an invitation dinner hosted by the Chief of the Army Staff Pakistan General Qamar Jawed Bajwa. Later, this group flies to Karachi for the inaugural match of “Ronaldinho and Friends”. This team consists of eight players which includes Brazilian footballer Ronaldinho, Famous England football player Ryan Giggs, Nicolas Anelka, Robert Carlos, George Boateng, David James, Robert Pires and Luis Boa Morte. The lineup, of two teams dubbed ‘Ronaldinho-7’ and ‘Ryan Giggs-7’, is playing with a group of Pakistani footballers for two seven-a-side matches in Karachi and Lahore.



image source: AFP

Ronaldinho picture with the Cheif of Army Staff Pakistan.


Pakistani football stars: Mohammad Rasool, Mohammad Essa, Aziz, Razik, Mohammad Adil, Adnan, Mohammad Ali and Ahmed along with foreign players: Nicolas Anelka, George Boateng and David James will play in the Ryan Giggs team.



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Ronaldinho joined by his friends on the arrival of Pakistan.


Next day they arrived to Karachi from Islamabad where they have to play an exhibition match between the friendly teams of Ronaldinho and Pakistani Players. The first exhibition match was played on 8th July at Abdul Sattar Edhi Stadium in Karachi between the teams of Ronaldinho and Ryan Giggs. The team led by Brazilian great Ronaldinho scored three goals, while the other side led by the Manchester United great Ryan Giggs could score only two goals, so that the team Ronaldinho easily managed to won the match. Before the start of the match, the inaugural ceremony took place which featured the Pakistan’s first ever laser show. Moreover, a number of star singers had also performed before and after the match. The best thing about this match was the emergence of sea of the people who came to witness the game of their favorite players. The ICC Champions Trophy Winner Captain Sarfaraz Ahmad along with Chief Minister Sindh Syed Murad Ali Shah were invited as the special Chief Guest. The stadium was rocking with the roaring voice of the spectators which overwhelmed the guest players to fall in love with them.



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ICC Champions Trophy winner skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed watches Ronaldinho and friends match.



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The first ever laser show of Pakistan.


“Thank you for all the admiration and treating me so well,” he said ahead of a match in Karachi, the first of two games in the trip. - RONALDINHO


image source: AFP

Ronaldinho appears in the first exhibition at Karachi.

Now their next stop was Lahore, where they would play their last match of this league. Like Karachi, the Fortress Stadium Lahore was all set to welcome them with warm hearts. Team Ronaldinho, leading with 1-0 in the two match series before the final game. As it was Sunday on 9th July, it was proving an icing on the cake for the families and other spectators who were willing to watch it live in the stadium. In the final clash between two teams, the Team Ronaldinho again secured the victory against the Team Giggs with 2-0. And with this, the historical tour comes to an end. The appearance of World Class players were more important than the result of this exhibition series as it was rarely required to boost the football activities in Pakistan.



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Ronaldinho holding the trophy after winning series against Team Giggs.


The people of Pakistan are impatience for the return of sports in Pakistan, which fled the country after an attack on the Sri Lankan Cricket Team in 2009.  The International Players had a great time in Pakistan and they were all praises for the country. Addressing a news conference at a private Hotel in Lahore on Sunday, they said:

We were impressed by the hospitality and warm welcome by Pakistani people on their visit. 

Manchester United record appearance holder Ryan Giggs was impressed and overwhelmed by the way, he got the love of the people. He further said:

We have come to Pakistan to send a message to the World that Pakistan is a peaceful and safe place to conduct sports events and activities.



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Ryan Giggs speaks at the press conference.

However, he admired the talent in Pakistan and stated:

“What I’ve seen here (Pakistan) are talented players who even in a short time took information in a very short time which is very encouraging. There’s a lot of talent in Pakistan which required organization, discipline and infrastructure. I’ve seen with my own eyes, the desire from the spectators and fans, how much they have interest in football and hopefully this will be able to send that message that Pakistan is a good place to come. ”



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Fans taking selfies with Ronaldinho ahead of the football match in Karachi.

Although Pakistan is a country of 189 million habitants, yet its football ranking is just 200 out of 211. This ranking doesn’t sit upright to the standard of its potential. Moreover, this year 2017 has just proved a sporting year of Pakistan. Starting from the Pakistan Super League final in Lahore to the winner of Champions Trophy in the month of June (as I’ve written about both in my previous blogs), we hope that football will also get better day by day and we all we see the team of Pakistan playing in FIFA World Cup.

About the author


I am Musaf Hanif, currently a student, interested in blogging, photography, filming/documentaries, sports,cricket freak and a little bit politician too!

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