FIFA legends Ricardo Kaka, Javier Mascherano and Julio Cesar believe the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 will unite and inspire football fans from across the globe.
The South American trio, all previous winners of the FIFA club world cup were in Qatar for the 2020 edition of the annual competition after it was postponed last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Last Thursday they were all in attendance at the Education City Stadium when UEFA Champions League holders FC Bayern München beat Mexican side Tigres UANL from the CONCACAF region in the final.
With the football world having played many matches behind closed doors in recent months, former Brazil playmaker Kaka was delighted to see club world cup games staged in front of a limited number of fans in Qatar, in line with the country’s COVID-19 protocols.
“The experience was really nice because we’ve all been through a very, very tough period,” said the former Sao Paulo, AC Milan and Real Madrid midfielder. “To be able to come back to the stadiums and watch a tournament like this even if it is just with a limited capacity in attendance is a sign of hope that we are almost finished after this dark period.”
All stadia are in close proximity to one another, with the longest distance being just 75 kilometres between venues.
In addition, fans and players will only need to stay in one accommodation throughout the tournament, meaning they will always be close to the action.
“It will be unique this World Cup because all the stadiums are very close, so everybody will be almost in the same location,’’ added Kaka. ‘’That will be amazing because we will be able to watch two, maybe three, games in the same day in different stadiums with different atmospheres and different supporters. It will be really nice and I’m looking forward to it.”
During their visit to Qatar, the trio also took time to see the latest infrastructure to be completed for football’s showpiece.
This included a trip to Al Khor to get a first-hand look at the spectacular Al Bayt Stadium, the venue for the opening match of the World Cup on November 21, 2022.
“It is incredible, beyond the fact that the stadiums we have seen are all spectacular, in terms of technology and comfort, this one has a different touch by maintaining the identity and the culture of the country with very particular details. I think that makes it quite special, it differentiates it from the rest,” said former Argentina midfielder Javier Mascheranco.
Having participated in previous editions of the FIFA World Cup during their illustrious careers, all three FIFA legends believe the compact nature of Qatar 2022 offers many advantages for the teams that qualify, as well as the fans that plan to attend.
And former Brazil goalkeeper Julio Cesar echoes the sentiments of both Kaka and Mascherano in believing that Qatar 2022 has all the makings of a special World Cup.
“I think Qatar is getting ready in a way that will see many football fans arrive from around the world,” said the former Flamengo, Inter Milan and Benfica shot-stopper.