14 Nov 2022
World Cup winner Marcel Desailly has hailed Aspire Academy for its role in developing global football.
Desailly, who won the trophy with France on home soil in 1998, was visiting the academy as part of Coca Cola’s FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour.
The former Chelsea and Milan defender brought the trophy to the academy and watched some of our student-athletes in action after giving them some words of encouragement.
Desailly, who also played for football clubs in Qatar, Al-Gharrafa SC and Qatar SC, then posed for photographs alongside Aspire Academy’s Chief of Sport Tim Cahill, Football technical Director, Edorta Murua, Football Coaches, the student athletes and the FIFA World Cup trophy.
“I've played here before and I know the expertise and the desire to having an amazing academy to bring them (the student-athletes) to professionalism,” he explained.
“The infrastructure is just amazing, the dynamic, the medical aspects they are growing the football world through this academy.”
Desailly pointed out that having a total of 18 Aspire Academy graduates in the Qatar squad for the FIFA World Cup proves that the methods are succeeding.
“Yes (it shows the project is a success), it's there in the statistics,” he added.
“But we need more, we need to see also them in European football and other continents too.”
“So, from here is the start of something very nice and I'm proud of all of them.”
“We are happy to be here for the World Cup with FIFA in order to bring these amazing events into a different region.”
“You have to inspire them, and the name Aspire is the correct name.”
He urged the youngsters that he saw in action to keep working hard if they want to emulate the Aspire Academy graduates who will be playing at the FIFA World Cup when it kicks off on November 20.
“It's a very long process, but the dream will come true for some of them,” Desailly added.
“That is the difficulty they are still young - physically mentally you need to be obsessed you need to really go for it to be able to make it.”
“But if they don't make it at least they've learned hard work and learned a whole lot of things about the idea of becoming a football player.”
Desailly added that he is looking forward to Qatar hosting the FIFA World Cup and has enjoyed showing off the trophy to fans around the globe.
“I love the Coca Cola trophy tour is amazing initiative, going around the world showing the trophy, inspiring people,” he said.
“I have the luck that I've won it in France with France – a long time ago but still the feeling is still there.”
“I'm not sure Qatar can win it but can really a lot of energy and you never know in football, but it is so good to have it here.”
“I'm sure all the matches will be intense. We are going to enjoy we are secure here in Qatar, the stadiums are beautiful. It's the perfect place to have this World Cup.”