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FCB Stars Share Soccer Tips

FC Barcelona teams up with Special Olympics Thailand and UNICEF Thailand to promote social inclusion for children with intellectual disabilities

Learning from the Best

Messi and Pinto with Special Olympics athletes

BANGKOK: On the first day of FC Barcelona’s Tour of Asia stars Leo Messi and Jose Manuel Pinto held a soccer skills clinic for athletes from Special Olympics Thailand.


FC Barcelona teamed up with Special Olympics Thailand and UNICEF Thailand to promote social inclusion for children with intellectual disabilities, of which there an estimated 600,000 in Thailand alone. 18 Special Olympics athletes from across Thailand took part in the skills clinic and a special Question and Answer session with Pinto and Messi afterwards.




"FC Barcelona wins, but we do it through a style connected with values," said Mr. Ramon Pont, Vice President of the FC Barcelona Foundation. "It's through values that you can win. We try to take advantage of the strength of sport to develop people, especially children."



Questions from Athletes

Pinto defends his line during a Special Olympics soccer skills training session

During a Question and Answer session with athletes from Special Olympics Thailand, Jeerawad Kom-iad a 19 year old Special Olympics athlete from the province of Nakorn Sriyhammarat, asked Messi if he had ever played football with Special Olympics athletes and if so how did he feel about it. In response the world’s greatest player said:  “I have had many experiences playing with athletes of all disabilities. I feel there is no difference interacting with all athletes, whether they have an intellectual disability or a physical disability, whether they are beginners or national players. Everyone deserves an equal chance and I enjoy playing with all of them.”  Messi was also asked what makes a great footballer by the Special Olympics athletes.  He had this advice for the athletes: "training is the key.  You have to give up a lot. If you love the game, you have to fight for it and you have to want to learn each and every day," he said.  In response to Pailin Sathitwimol a 13 year old Special Olympics female football player from the central Lopburi province, who asked Messi what the most important thing in his life is apart from Football he said it is his family and how he values the time he spends with them when he is not playing football.




Under Messi's wing!

Messi signed the shirts of all the Special Olympics athletes and each athlete received tickets to FC Barcelona's training sessions.


Dr. Naris Chaiyasoot, Chairman of Special Olympics Thailand expressed his appreciation to the players and the FC Barcelona Foundation as well as to UNICEF Thailand and UNICEF East Asia and Pacific, for giving the athletes this once in a lifetime opportunity and for helping to create more awareness in Thailand of the abilities and challenges of people with intellectual disabilities.

Today’s soccer skills clinic for Special Olympics Thailand athletes by FC Barcelona stars follows similar soccer clinics held in recent weeks by Manchester United players for Special Olympics athletes in Australia and Liverpool FC players for Special Olympics athletes in Indonesia.


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