Argentinian football legend Jorge Valdano has delivered an optimistic message about Qatar’s footballing future, insisting the country is “well-placed to surprise many people” with its hosting of the FIFA 2022 World Cup.
Speaking in Doha on Wednesday, the 1986 World Cup winner praised the “unrivalled” training facilities available in Qatar and noted the “dramatic progress” the country is making in terms of nurturing its young footballing talent.
The former Real Madrid striker made his remarks during a two-day visit to Aspire Academy, where he was guest of honour. A hugely respected sporting intellectual, Valdano was given a guided tour of the Academy facilities during his stay, and also presented two lectures on his football training philosophy to over 400 local Qatari coaches.
Addressing the media after his second lecture on Wednesday, Valdano admitted his excitement at the rapidly developing football environment in Qatar.
Valdano said, “Qatar is a country that deserves, and should be immensely proud of, its continuing football success. Having had the chance to witness the unrivalled training facilities here at Aspire Academy up close, I am greatly impressed by what I have seen.
“With the FIFA World Cup in 2022 just around the corner, Qatar is proving every day that it has a genuine love for the game and a deep commitment towards training and unlocking sporting potential. I am sure that, regardless of whether the 2002 World Cup takes place in summer or winter, it will be a great success.”
Paying tribute to Valdano, Roberto Olabe, Director of Football at Aspire Academy, said, “It has been a tremendous privilege to host such a globally respected sporting figure here at Aspire over the past few days. Jorge has shared his fascinating footballing philosophies with us, and I believe it has been hugely valuable to coaches and Aspire staff to hear these insights.”
Valdano enjoyed a glittering playing career, most famously for Real Madrid and Argentina, and scored the winning goal in the 1986 World Cup Final victory over West Germany. He went on to coach ‘Los Blancos’, and has also authored an acclaimed book which sets out his footballing philosophy.
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