The UEFA Foundation for Children is proud to announce that Sevilla midfielder Ivan RakitiÄ is to join the organisation as its first official ambassador. The former Croatian international will have the opportunity to take part in UEFA Foundation-led initiatives, as well as promoting the good work undertaken by the body to help improve the lives of children worldwide.
âTo be a part of the UEFA Foundation family gives me a lot of pride,â RakitiÄ explained.
âIâm really happy about it, and it gives me a lot of responsibility to show everyone that together with the UEFA Foundation and all the players we can accomplish a lot and, above all, help children all over the world smile with joy. The fact that Iâm a father of two girls means that I know and understand how important it is to see that smile on childrenâs faces.â
Commitment to improving lives
UEFA president Aleksander Äeferin, who is also chairman of the board of the UEFA Foundation for Children, is delighted that RakitiÄ has committed his support to the organisation.
âIvan RakitiÄ is not only one of the greatest midfielders of his generation, he is also a person who wants to make a tangible difference away from the pitch in order to improve the lives of others,â said president Äeferin.
âI have been extremely impressed with Ivanâs commitment and desire to help children around the world and we are looking forward to working closely with him in order to achieve these goals. The door is always open for players, both past and present, to follow Ivanâs example and join the UEFA Foundation in an ambassadorial role.â
Being part of a family
Having won the UEFA Champions League with Barcelona in 2015 and a year earlier the UEFA Europa League as captain of Sevilla, RakitiÄ also amassed over 100 caps for Croatia. While he has no immediate plans to hang up his boots, he already has one eye on a post-footballing career.
âI hope that I have many good years ahead of me on the pitch, but of course once I retire, Iâm convinced that Iâll have more time and more opportunities to travel and be available,” he said.
“Obviously, I want to give [this ambassadorial role] my all from day one. But when that [retirement] day finally arrives, Iâm sure that Iâll have more time [to take part in projects] and my excitement will only increase.
âThe idea of being a part of this family already has me excited to get started, and I hope to be able to do so for many years because I can see how important it is. Itâs important work that affects us all, which is to make many children happy.â
Projects in over 100 countries
In the five years since the UEFA Foundation was set up, around one million children have benefited from its broad palette of activities worldwide, while it has provided support for projects in 100 countries across five continents.
Through sport, and football in particular, the UEFA Foundation is helping to give hope to children from difficult backgrounds so that they can achieve their goals in life.