Diego Forlan joined the celebrations held to mark the 30th anniversary of Gurises Unidos this week, paying a visit on Thursday 12 September to the main offices of the Uruguayan NGO, which works with some of the country’s most vulnerable young people.
The FIFA Legend was welcomed by a large group of youngsters, who were thrilled at the prospect of spending a few hours with their footballing idol.
“It was a wonderful experience and I had a really great day,” said Forlan. “I had a lot of fun playing with them and chatting to them too. What stood out for me was how happy the kids were and how well they behaved.”
The lowdown on Gurises Unidos
- The charity has worked with more than 15,000 boys and girls of all ages
- It has carried out 150 projects and programmes
- It has received the support of the FIFA Foundation Community Programme
The fun continued out on the pitch, where Forlan joined the youngsters for Fútbol 3, a version of football open to boys and girls of all ages and where they decide the rules and where “mediators” officiate instead of referees. Games are won not by the number of goals a team scores but by how well they keep to the rules.
“Football is education,” said the FIFA Legend after a lengthy spell on the pitch. “Studying is the most important thing but then comes sport because it helps you to share, work in a team, respect the rules, and lead a healthy life. There are a lot of aspects to it that are very important for life too.”
To set the seal on what was an unforgettable day for everyone present, Forlan joined the youngsters for a very enjoyable dinner and spoke to them about football, life and the future.
“They have to know that the most beautiful thing they have is their youth and that their rights are properly respected,” said Forlan. “If they know that, then they can enjoy their lives in the way that every boy and girl deserves to. After that they can decide what they want to do; become a footballer or something else. The most important thing, though, is that they can be happy and can choose the paths they want to take.”
Since its creation in March 2018, the FIFA Foundation has given support, through its Community Programme, to organisations that use football as a tool to tackle the social problems afflicting society’s youngest members.
“The FIFA Foundation does a great job,” added Forlan. “They’ve been visiting countries and running projects with some big names for some time now. That’s great because it means the message gets out louder and quicker to young people.”