Ronaldinho to visit Pakistan with David James and George Boateng


Ronaldinho to visit Pakistan with David James and George Boateng

Ronaldinho exhibition matches in Pakistan announced

Frank Fife


The Brazilian will be joined by football figures including James and Boateng for exhibition matches in the Asian country in July.

Barcelona great Ronaldinho, ex-England goalkeeper David James and former Dutch international George Boateng will be among seven famous football faces to feature in exhibition games in Pakistan in July, organisers said on Thursday.

The fixtures are part of plans to build on the "comfort zone" from the successful staging of the Pakistan Super League cricket final in Lahore earlier this month.

Pakistan had been mostly off limits for foreign sports teams since terrorist attacks on the Sri Lankan cricket team's bus in 2009.

The legends are being brought to the country by the UK-based Leisure Leagues - organisers of 5, 6 and 7-a-side tournaments which recently announced plans to expand to Pakistan.

Pakistani cricket legend Javed Miandad (centre) speaks during a press conference with representatives of the Leisure Leaguesto announce that Ronaldinho, David James and George Boateng will be among seven top former players to feature in exhibition games in Pakistan in July.

Ishaq Shah, chief operating officer of Leisure Leagues Pakistan, said the stars would play exhibition games alongside selected local players in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad.

"There is no doubt the staging of the PSL has provided a comfort zone and the visit of these foreign stars will rebrand Pakistan as hub of sports," said Shah, who did not name the other four players.

Pakistan sporting greats including cricket's Javed Miandad backed the plans, with Miandad saying he was honoured to be an ambassador for the league.

"Football is the most popular sport in the world and in my playing days I used to follow Newcastle United so once this game is popular in Pakistan people will forget cricket," said Miandad.

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