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Ronaldinho, Giggs arrive in Pakistan for exhibition matches

Ronaldinho, Giggs arrive in Pakistan for exhibition matches”

Ronaldinho's side defeated Ryan Giggs-led team by 3-2 in an exhibition football match at the Abdul Sattar Edhi Stadium, here on Saturday.

Footballers Ronaldinho and Ryan Giggs returned from their tour of Pakistan on Sunday and they were pleasantly surprised to see the passion for the game in a cricket-crazy country.

Dutchman George Boateng, former France internationals Robert Pires and Nicolas Anelka, former England goalkeeper David James and Portugal's Luis Boa Morte were the other foreign players.

"For us it's a big moment", Pakistan football captain Kaleemullah said.

Leisure League, the organisers of the matches, wanted to promote football in Pakistan and show the world that Pakistan was a safe country for global sports.

Seven footballers from around the world, including Ronaldinho and Ryan Giggs, reached Islamabad on Saturday for two exhibition matches - the first in Karachi on Saturday and the other in Lahore on Sunday. "I grew up watching Ronaldinho on television and I still can't believe it, he's in Pakistan".

"I think Pakistan are at 200 in the world, so to bring it down you need infrastructure and also the best coaches in the world to teach the players how to play", Giggs said.

Since the 2009 terror attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team's bus in Lahore, Pakistan has been boycotted by major worldwide cricket teams for security reasons.

Cricket is the major sport in Pakistan, but English Premier League, La Liga and Bundesliga soccer have attracted a growing following among younger fans.

The security for the players was handled by Pakistan Army but organisation of the matches has received some flak on the social media. According to a PTI report, Giggs and Ronaldinho were paid hefty amounts between United States dollars 300,000 to USD 600,000 to play a couple of exhibition matches in Pakistan.



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