AC Milan's stars gave Qatar youngsters the thrill of a lifetime last week. David Beckham, Kaka, Ronaldinho, Paolo Maldini, Andrei Shevchenko, Andrea Pirlo, and Filippo Inzaghi, along with their AC Milan team-mates and coaches, made a big impression on a group of young student athletes at the ASPIRE sports academy in Doha, Qatar.
The Italian giants were warmly welcomed by ASPIRE's senior management and were led on a tour of the world's largest indoor multi-sport dome. AC Milan, thoroughly impressed by the facilities, signed on ASPIRE's VIP mural, shirt and signature book.
AC Milan's Clarence Seedorf, who had visited ASPIRE in 2007 and is a believer in the academy's ambitious plans to produce world class sports stars, said: "The power of sport is the power of education and that together is the future and our hope".
The highlight of the visit was a rousing welcome by ASPIRE's student athletes on the indoor football pitch. The students applauded and cheered their heroes on as they marched beside them to the field, with the ASPIRE Academy anthem playing in the background.
AC Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti exchanged signed team shirts and flag with ASPIRE's footballers Abdullah Taleb and Abd El Aziz Ansari while ASPIRE's Sports Director, Dr Andreas Bleicher presented AC Milan's Director General Ariedo Braida with an ASPIRE Medal.
ASPIRE's slogans "ASPIRE Today, Inspire Tomorrow" and "There is a place for those who dare to dream" were echoed as the TVC commercial that featured Ronaldinho was continually displayed on screen. The commercial promotes ASPIRE's core values of competitiveness, ambition and sporting spirit. It also provided the visitors with a brief overview of the holistic approach that ASPIRE follows in developing talents and the balance between sports and education.
ASPIRE was delighted to welcome its honoured guests who have provided young football fans around the world with inspiring performances on the field for both their club and country and also motivated many young people to take part in sport.
AC Milan stars were the latest in a rich range of famous visitors who has visited the Academy over the years. Other dignitaries who have seen the Academy include Pelé, Rabah Madjer, Diego Maradona, Zinedine Zidane, Nadia Comaneci, Mark Spitz, Edwin Moses, Said Aouita, Hicham El Guerrouj, "Ro" Antonio Blackman, and Djamel Bourras.
AC Milan also visited ASPETAR, Qatar's Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Hospital.