Portugal's forward Cristiano Ronaldo
File picture: Portugal's forward Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates with the trophy after winning the UEFA Nations League final football match between Portugal and The Netherlands at the Dragao Stadium in Porto on June 9, 2019. Image Credit: AFP

Dubai: The organisers of 14th edition of the Dubai International Sports Conference pulled off a late coup when they confirmed Cristiano Ronaldo as one of the speakers at the forum late on Friday evening. The five-time Fifa Footballer of the Year, now playing for Juventus, had been in the emirate on a winter break and his presence will certainly add more sheen to the programme.

The Portuguese joins several big names of the world of football, led by Wales coach and Manchester United legend Ryan Giggs and Lucy Bronze, Uefa Women’s Player of the Year 2019, for the one-day summit to be held at the Madinat Jumeirah on Saturday.

Established as a forum for discussing the global development of the game the conference brings together influential leaders, among them chairmen, directors, referees, agents players and coaches to share their combined proficiency and experience to deliberate on ‘Global Issues and ‘Focused Topics’ that are impacting the industry.

Topics on the agenda also include subjects such as ‘English football Back to the top’, Empowering Women in Football, ‘football changing the Future’ and ‘Modern Training and Technology.’

Giggs, who arrived in Dubai on Thursday, took to organiser Dubai Sports Council’s Instagram account to announce his enthusiasm for the event which commences at 10.30am.

“I’m very excited to share my experiences and my knowledge both as a football player and now as a coach,” Giggs said.

“I’ve been to Dubai many times on holiday so I know Dubai well and I always get a good welcome, so I’m very much looking forward to the conference.”

Other notable guests will include former Juventus, Ajax and Netherlands goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar, a former teammate of Giggs’ at United who is now the CEO at Ajax, one of the most successful clubs in Dutch football history.

Former England manager Fabio Capello and Ferran Soriano, chief executive of Manchester City will be joined Lazio coach Simeone Inzaghi, Serie A stars Romelu Lukaku, Miralem Pjanic and Atletico Madrid midfielder Joao Felix and at the conference which will be moderated by former France defender Mikael Silvestre.

“It’s a unique event. I’m proud to be part of the Global soccer family over the years,” said Capello.

For the first time, the event will include an all-ladies session titled ‘Empowering Women in Football’ where Lucy Bronze and France captain Amandine Henry will lead the discussion alongside legendary French football referee Stephanie Frappart and Italian captain Sara Gama.

Atletico Madrid midfielder Joao Felix and Serie A stars Romelu Lukaku and Miralem Pjanic, will share their experiences in an interesting session titled, “Football — Changing Futures”.