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Qatar's World Cup bid a very proud moment - Ex-Barcelona star De Boer

Former Barcelona, Ajax Amsterdam and Rangers star Ronald De Boer insists that helping Qatar win their World Cup bid is a very proud moment in his football career.

The 40-year old Dutchman was an ambassador for the Qatari bid, which won the rights to host the 2022 tournament, and admits that he was jubilant when the decision was given to the tiny Middle Eastern country.

"I put a lot of effort into this bid and when it finally came together it was a very proud moment for myself and for Qatar," he told the Daily Record.

"It is only a small nation and we faced a formidable task as we were up against Australia, Japan, South Korea and the USA.

"But we beat the big boys and it was a massive honour for me to be a part of that. I'm so thrilled.

"There was a lot of negativity from the English after we were awarded the Finals but instead of criticising it might have been better for them to concentrate more on their own bid for 2018.

"I think they were too presumptuous at the outset and I don't believe they treated their rivals with enough respect."

De Boer, who has lived in Qatar for the past seven years, was confident the Arab nation would do a great job in hosting the World Cup finals.

"You are always going to get doubters but I think the fact we have managed to convince FIFA says it all," he added.

"They knew we were capable of doing this and I genuinely believe this will be the best World Cup ever.

"Football is the No.1 sport in the Arab world and with 400million of them in close proximity I'm convinced we will fill the stadiums.

"The size of the country is a huge advantage in my opinion as it will be easy for fans to travel between venues. Of course Qatar does not have any history as a footballing nation and it will be extremely difficult for us to get beyond the first round but I'm optimistic.

"Everyone predicted South Africa as a team and a country would be a disaster at the last World Cup but they pulled it off and I'm sure Qatar will surprise a few people too."

Andrew Slevison
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Andrew Slevison

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