Zinédine Zidane is a retired French football player who won all the major international and European trophies. He is one the most loved icons in France and worldwide.
Faithful ambassador of the Danone Nations Cup since it began, he stands alongside the younger generation to encourage them to believe in their dreams, pass on his unique experience of the game but also team spirit, fair play and a passion for football.
Each year, France’s celebrated number 10 tries to be there on the pitch with the children to kick off the World Final.
Quite honestly, this is an amazing event, so much more than an international football tournament, it’s an unforgettable experience for these children who come from all over the world! It’s impressive to see how the language barrier disappears when they are on the field, all they need is sport and passion to understand each other. The Danone Nations Cup is just that: sharing of a passion for football, respect, beyond the borders, it’s a dream for any child. I would certainly have loved to have taken part in it when I was their age. Football has given me a lot and I want to pass on my experience to the younger generation, not just from a technical point of view but also a state of mind. At the age of 12, football is, and must remain, a game between friends!
Nothing other than enjoy, share and continue to play fair! Each year I am struck by the bond that is created between all the children from all the countries. I love to see them play and chat; it’s amazing.
Fair Play, like respect, is obviously the core and central value of sportsmanship. It is particularly relevant to football. I feel very strongly about it. It is therefore essential that the Danone Nations Cup is exemplary in this area because good habits should be rooted very early.
Abdel Zaher El-Saqqa, born on January 30th, 1974, is an Egyptian retired football player. He began his career in Egypt with El Mansoura Football Club, then he joined Egypt’s national team winning 112 caps, scoring 4 goals.
He also played in Turkey with Denizlispor, Gençlerbirliği, Konyaspor and Eskişehirspor. “Football is not only a sport, but it is a way of life. By playing football, you are always a winner – you become a role model for others. You eat healthy, you exercise daily and you get the opportunity to get exposed to different cultures around the world.”
Masakiyo was born in Kagoshima in October 1973. He joined the Yokohama Flugels in 1992. He was selected in Japan national team and became its captain in 1994. The team won against Brazil at the Atlanta Olympics in 1996, that was called “a miracle in Miami”. Then, he played in Brazil and Korea and finally retired in 2005. He is now journalist and commentator on TV show, and managed a football school.
Former glory of the Romanian football, he was one of the best players in the world in the 90s with Real Madrid, Barcelona FC or Galatasaray. Top scorer in the history of the Romanian team, he scored nearly 300 goals in his career and was named “Romanian footballer of the century.”
Bulgarian football player, Dimitar Berbatov is a former striker of Manchester United. Twice Champion of England, best scorer of Premier League for the 2010/11 season, the striker is the best Bulgarian football player of the year – 7 times during his career.
Berbatov has been an ambassador of the Danone Nations Cup since 2008. He is also a founder of the Dimitar Berbatov Foundation, which supports children talented in Arts, Sciences and Sports.
Blaise Matuidi is a French international footballer. As a defensive midfielder he participated in UEFA Euro 2012 and 2014 FIFA World Cup with the French national team. He joined the Ligue 1 in 2007 with AS Saint Etienne. Since 2011, he has been a significant player for Paris Saint Germain and won with the club several trophies. In 2015, he became the ambassador of the Danone Nations Cup France: “When I was younger I dreamed of participating in the Danone Nations Cup. This is an extraordinary experience that promotes collective values, fair play and respect. I am delighted to join the adventure!”
Patrick Leduc is a former Canadian international player. Playing as a midfielder from 2000 to 2010 at the Montreal Impact, he was also selected 3 times for the national team of Canada. Since his international retirement in 2011, he has been a consultant and commentator for the Canadian French language channel, Réseau des Sports.