Dubai: Joao Felix, one of the brightest young talents in football, will join Serie A stars Romelu Lukaku and Miralem Pjanic at the 14th Dubai International Sports Conference to discuss football’s ability to change lives.
The organising committee of the Conference, which is one of the Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives, have also announced the participation of France’s national team manager Didier Deschamps, Wales boss Ryan Giggs and Simone Inzaghi, the manager of Italian club Lazio.
The coaches will discuss “Modern Training and Technology” in the closing session of the 14th Dubai International Sports Conference, which takes place under the theme “Future Football Accelerators” on December 28 at Madinat Jumeirah Conference Centre’s Joharah Ballroom.
Organised under the patronage of His Highness shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Sports Council, since 2006, the Dubai International Sports Conference has become the world’s premium annual football forum where the sport’s top stakeholders assemble for extensive discussions about the future of the Beautiful Game.
This year’s Conference has attracted a stellar star cast as well with former Manchester United legend Edwin Van der Sar headlining the opening session, where he will discuss English football’s rise to the top alongside former England manager Fabio Capello and Ferran Soriano, chief executive of Manchester City and its parent company City Football Group.
For the first time, there will be an all-ladies session at the Conference where Englishwoman Lucy Bronze, Uefa Women’s Player of the Year for 2019, and France captain Amandine Henry — two of the biggest stars of women’s football — will discuss the “Empowering Women in Football” alongside history-making French football referee Stephanie Frappart and Italy captain Sara Gama.
Winner of the 2019 Golden Boy award — the award given to the best Under-21 player in Europe — Felix is just 20 years old, but has already shattered transfer records. Earlier this year, Atletico Madrid made the Portuguese, who is often compared to former Brazilian midfield maestro Kaka, their most expensive signing, paying Benfica €126 million for Antoine Griezmann’s replacement.
It was Benfica’s biggest transfer as well, and the second-highest amount paid for a teenager after Kylian Mbappe’s €145m move from Monaco to Paris St-Germain. Overall, it is the fourth biggest transfer in football history.
Lukaku, meanwhile, is one of the top strikers in the game today, boasting clubs such as Chelsea, Everton, Manchester United and Inter Milan on his resume. Still 26, he is already Belgium’s all-time top scorer with 52 goals from 84 appearances.
Pjanic also plays in the Italian Serie A, alongside Cristiano Ronaldo at Juventus, and is one of the top stars of Bosnia and Herzegovina national team.