Puyol to become latest football star to visit Pakistan [Dawn]

Puyol to become latest football star to visit Pakistan [Dawn]

by Umaid Wasim

KARACHI: The cast keeps getting better and better.

Carles Puyol on Tuesday became the latest football star to announce that he will be featuring in the World Soccer Stars event to be held next month in Pakistan.

As part of its promotions, the Barcelona and Spain legend will be arriving in Karachi on Saturday as he joins Portugal great Luis Figo, Brazilian superstar Kaka and mercurial Frenchman Nicolas Anelka in playing two exhibition matches in the country on April 27 and 28.

Figo and Kaka arrived in Pakistan in January to kick off the promotions for the event before Anelka visited earlier this month.

It was during Anelka’s one-day trip to Islamabad that TouchSky Group (TSG), the organisers of the World Soccer Stars event, announced that their plans weren’t limited to just holding exhibition matches. The match and player agents signed an agreement with the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) for development of grassroots football.

Puyol’s arrival, just a day before the final of the Pakistan Super League (PSL), is aimed at launching the ticket sales for the April event.

Dawn understands that the 40-year-old former defender is likely to make an appearance in the final of the glitzy Twenty20 league at the National Stadium on Sunday but the organisers didn’t disclose those plans in the news release.

They did, however, inform that Puyol will meet fans at a local mall on Saturday.

“I look forward to seeing you all and I am really excited to meet all my fans in Pakistan,” Puyol said in the news release. “World Soccer Stars presents a great opportunity to celebrate the arrival of football and from what I know football is the next emerging sport in Pakistan.”

On Monday, Puyol was in the Indonesian capital of Jakarta as part of the UEFA Champions League Trophy Tour.

The shaggy-haired Puyol won club football’s biggest honour three times with Barca, with whom he spent the whole of his playing career.

In a career in which he won everything there is to win, he also lifted the FIFA World Cup with Spain in 2010, two years after he won the UEFA Euro 2008 with his national side.

His inclusion means the players announced so far by TSG have all either played for Real Madrid or Barcelona and are all Champions League winners. Puyol, who made his first-team debut for Barca in 1999, was team-mates with Figo for a year before the Portuguese joined arch-rivals Real. Anelka and Kaka both played for Real during their careers.

Published in Dawn, March 13th, 2019