Shakira's first experience in the hotseat of the Ricard Maxenchs press room at Camp Nou drew more journalists than a usual Luis Enrique press briefing. The singer was accompanied by Barcelona's First vice-president of the Social Area, Jordi Cardoner i Casaus to promote an alliance with Shakira's Fundación Pies Descalzos (The Bare Feet Foundation) for an educational initiative - including a the creation of a new school the 'Nuevo Bosque' Institute in Barranquilla, Colombia which will be inaugurated next year. The school will be the seventh to be opened by Shakira's charity Foundation.
Large media presence for Shakira at Camp Nou
“We haven't come here today to talk about football and seeing the press room packed is a real surprise”, said Cardoner. “Through Futbolnet, a programme which uses sport to transmit values, we want to contribute our own grain of sand from Barcelona, during what is an important moment for Colombia in the peace process”.
Shakira's schools programme in Colombia
Shakira was visibly emotional as she began her speech on the stage usually reserved for her. “Who could have told me that from here at Camp Nou, such a special place for Gerard and our children that we would be presenting a project which means so much to me and to which I have dedicated so much time. When we started to build schools in Colombia 20 years ago, we chose remote areas where they was absolutely nothing at all - no infrastructure, roads or even fresh, drinking water. We built schools where the government were absent and thousands of children didn't have access to quality education. The transformation was immediate - jobs were generated, healthy nutrition was available and the students responded academically. Investing in education, when it works, is the best conclusion and it is the best strategy to eradicate poverty. Thanks to Barça we have already been able to build football pitches in Barranquilla and Cartagena. I was born, raised and lived in Colombia. To see how lives are being transformed instead of being trapped in a continual cycle of poverty is liberating. It shows that there is a way out".
Barcelona "the ultimate club" says Shakira
Shakira followed with words of praise for Barcelona: “I don't know a club as complete as this one - from the sporting side to the human side. And that's why they say Barça is ‘more than a club’. It should be an example for other clubs and also businesses. My son Milan has started to understand that going to school, being able to play football and eat well are privileges that many children don't have. There are many things which we take for granted that others don't have”.
"Piqué supports me in everything"
There were also several lighthearted moments when humour shone through. “As a partner, Piqué supports me in everything. He helps me for my wellbeing and I do the same for him. He tries to make sure that I am happy and I do the same so that his happiness is projected out on the pitch. It's something we do when we are at home…”. When asked about whether she would like Piqué to be Barça president, Shakira said: “I think you, the media, have put that idea about more times that Gerard has…”
One journalist asked about Piqué's provocative postings on social media, and Shakira shared her thoughts: “Maybe neither of us are really like the image of ourselves which is portrayed. Maybe I am a little more nervous and it's Gerard who brings calm. Piqué is a very sensitive guy and he is very switched on up here (points to head). I must be really in love with him...”.
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