Former Brazilian soccer star keen to help Indian football

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Barrackpore, Nov 11 (UNI) Former Brazilian world cupper and brand ambassador for Italy's Milan Foundation- Leonardo today said he was keen to help India in promoting soccer.

Interacting with reporters here he also said that Italy's match fixing scandal brought bad name to the country.

During his three-hour trip to Udayan, a home of Lepers' ward in West Bengal's 24 North Parganas district, about 30 kms from Kolkata, Leonardo said match fining was not new to the game but should not have happened.

The 37-year-old soccer star said sports can change the world and Milan Foundation and some other organisations and individuals like Zinedien Zidane were working on it. He praised former France captain for his recent goodwill visit to Bangladesh.

He rated Brazilian forward Kaka as the best player among the contemporaries including Ronaldinho.

Talking about the headbutt incident of Zidane in the final against Italy, the Brazilian said the French capgain was a victim of circumstances.

Leonardo today inaugurated an indoor hall for table tennis, carrom and chess and a concrete floor open air basketball court at the Udayan Complex, funded by the Milan Foundation.

This was his second visit to Udayan. Udayan, home of children of lepers, gets funds regularly from former Astralian cricket captain Steve Waugh.

Leonardo said he has decided to work for the promotion of soccer among children in 40 different places in the world.

''We can consider and be ready to be a partner of any country including India for promotion of football if we are apprached. No such reqeust came to us from either Kolkata or from your federation (AIFF) side'', he told while answering a question.

During the visit, along with a Milan Foundation companion, Leonardo spent much time playing football with the young wards of the home and inspired them to play the game sincerely along with education. ''I believe education and sports should be carried out simultaneously.'' Chairman of Udayan Rev. Father John Gregory Stevens accompanied him and briefed him the way home was being run with 300 wards including 80 girls.


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