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. Both were in Pakistan for two days with five other international players who will feature in exhibition matches in Karachi and Lahore.
“I think the security was excellent and we thought that Pakistan was only a cricket loving nation but after our visit we know they are as passionate about football as well,” Ronaldinho was quoted as saying by PTI.
The security for the players was handled by Pakistan Army but organisation of the matches has received some flak on the social media. Pakistan cricketers Hasan Ali and Azhar Ali went for the second match in Lahore on Sunday and felt organisation could have been much better.Pakistan has not had any international action since the attack on Sri Lanka team bus in Lahore in 2009.
Former Manchester United star Giggs, who accompanied Ronaldinho, felt the country has interesting talent.
“I was surprised by the love and passion the Pakistani people have for football and I see they have interesting talent as well which only needs proper grooming and coaching,” he said.
Pakistan continues to make efforts to restart international events in the country and the football exhibition games come as a step in the right direction. According to a PTI report, Giggs and Ronaldinho were paid hefty amounts between USD 300,000 to USD 600,000 to play a couple of exhibition matches in Pakistan. Others who also joined them were Nicolas Anelka, Robert Pires, David James, George Boateng and Luis Boa Morte..