BELO HORIZONTE: The city of Belo Horizonte, which will host six matches at the 2014 FIFA World Cup™ including a semi-final, today unveiled a star-studded team of ambassadors that will promote the city in the lead up to next year’s tournament and beyond.
The team will be led by two-time FIFA World Player of the Year, Ronaldinho, and former Argentina captain, Juan Pablo Sorin, both of whom represent the city’s top two football clubs, Atlético Mineiro and Cruzeiro, respectively.
The ambassadors will work to continue the development of the city’s domestic and international profile by promoting tourism, attracting business and events and helping to create a sporting legacy for the city as it prepares to play a leading role in the 2014 FIFA World Cup™ and the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
In what has been a landmark few weeks for Belo Horizonte, this announcement follows the news that Team GB will train, prepare and acclimatise in the city in the lead up to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, and the Argentinean FA’s announcement that their national team will be based in the city during the 2014 FIFA World Cup™, confirming Belo Horizonte’s key role in the delivery of the world’s two biggest sporting events and reaffirming that the city is ready and prepared to host the world.
Marcio Lacerda, Mayor of Belo Horizonte, said:
“This is yet another significant step for Belo Horizonte as we approach one of the most important periods in the city’s history.
“In the coming years we will play a major part in the delivery of the FIFA World Cup and the Rio 2016 Olympic Games so it is a great boost and an honour to announce a wonderful team of ambassadors who are perfectly placed to bring to life the Belo Horizonte story.
“This is an incredibly exciting time for everybody involved and we will ensure that all of the hard work that has got us to this point will continue into next year and beyond.”
Ronaldinho, who has won 97 caps and scored 33 goals for Brazil, said:
“This is a very proud moment for me and I’m delighted to be given the opportunity to represent Belo Horizonte in the lead up to the FIFA World Cup and beyond. Ever since I moved here I have felt at home, Belo Horizonte is such a beautiful city, rich in sporting culture and with great people. I look forward to working with my fellow ambassadors to help showcase this fantastic city to rest of the world.”
Juan Pablo Sorin, who won 76 caps for Argentina and captained his country at the 2006 FIFA World Cup, said:
“This is a great moment for Belo Horizonte, Brazil and South America and I’m honoured to play a part in promoting the city at such an important and exciting time. This is a city that has so much to offer to sports fans all around the world and hopefully our work will help to contribute to a tangible legacy of sports events in the region for years to come.”
NOTE TO EDITORS
Please find attached low resolution image of the team of ambassadors including Ronaldinho and Juan Pablo Sorin. A high resolution image is available on request.
The team of ambassadors is made up of current and former players from Atlético Mineiro, Cruzeiro and also América – Belo Horizonte’s third club. The full team includes the following players:
Known locally as ‘The Wizard’, Ronaldinho currently plays for Copa Libertadores champions Atlético Mineiro and won the 2002 FIFA World Cup with Brazil.
Juan Pablo Sorin
‘El Juanpí’ played for Cruzeiro and now resides in Belo Horizonte. Sorin captained Argentina at the 2006 FIFA World Cup.
Piazza is a former Cruzeiro player who also played a key part in Brazil’s 1970 World Cup victory.
One of the greatest strikers in the history of the Brazilian championship, Dadá Maravilha played for
Atlético Mineiro and América. He also played for Brazil in their victorious 1970 FIFA World Cup campaign.
Known by the nickname, “O Rei” [The King], Reinaldo is the greatest striker in Atlético Mineiro’s history scoring a record 255 goals. Reinaldo was also part of Brazil’s 1978 World Cup winning team.
Paulo Isidoro played for Atlético Mineiro and was part of the Brazilian team in the 1982 FIFA World Cup.
Regarded as one of the best defenders in Brazilian football, Luizinho played for both, Atlético Mineiro and Cruzeiro, and also featured in for Brazil in the 1982 World Cup.
Known as ‘A Bomba’ [The Bomb], thanks to his powerful shot, Éder Aleixo’s goal against USSR at the 1982 FIFA World Cup is considered one of the best ever. The striker played for both Atlético and Cruzeiro.
Nelinho’s goal against Italy during the 1978 FIFA World Cup is also considered one of the best all time. He too played for both Cruzeiro and Atlético.
‘A Muralha Invisível’ [The Invisible Wall], the midfielder won the 2002 FIFA World Cup with Brazil.
Known in Spanish football as “La bestia de Sevilla” [The Beast of Seville], thanks to his physical strength, Julio Baptista played for the Brazilian team in the 2010 FIFA World Cup and currently plays for Cruzeiro.
Elmo Cordeiro, a ball boy during England’s 1-0 defeat to USA at the 1950 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, and Maria das Graças Pinho, a volunteer during the FIFA Confederations Cup 2013 will also be named as honourary ambassadors for the recent work they have done for the city.
For more information:
Tel: +44 20 7379 4000
Mob: +44  7447 937654