Franco Baresi (right) with senior officials
Franco Baresi (right) with senior officials from the AC Milan Academy Dubai during the press conference. Image Credit: Arshad Ali/Gulf News

Dubai: AC Milan and Italy legend Franco Baresi took a walk down memory lane while urging youngsters to embrace values imparted by a sport such as football.

More than 600 boys and girls representing 56 teams between eight and 14 years will contest for top honours in the second edition of the AC Milan Academy Dubai Champions Cup at the AC Milan Academy headquarters at GEMS International School Al Khail on February 15-16.

Alongside Baresi at the launch were Lorenzo Giorgetti, Chief Commercial Officer AC Milan, Bruno Bertucci, General Manager and Director of AC Milan Academy Dubai, Fabio Zucchelli, Chief Financial Officer and Director of AC Milan Academy Dubai, the Consul General of Italy in Dubai Valentina Setta, and Dr Marc Rummler, VP Clinical Operations — Meraas Health care.

“I am happy to be back in Dubai after a long time to support this important initiative where we are able to involve a lot of young kids. I am happy to be part of this project because we go back in time and this gives us a better opportunity to educate these young minds with our philosophy and values,” Baresi told media.

“I have visited academies all across the world and one of the things that I have learnt is that we need to be mindful of respecting the values of a country while educating young minds,” he added.

While sticking to the vital element of passion, Baresi sought to remind those present that they ought to have a look at his career to understand how far one can go. “Every time I speak to kids I remind them that dreams do come true. One must never give up, but just hold on to a dream and keep going,” Baresi noted.

“It’s great to see so many boys and girls training and testing themselves with passion and determination. AC Milan provides a cutting-edge technical, educational and methodological know-how that is also used for the youth sector in football schools in Italy and internationally. The presence of the club’s official coaches here in Dubai is fundamental to its ongoing success. Furthermore, football carries a great social value, and it’s great to see so many girls also playing football here,” he added.

Launched in February 2016, the AC Milan Academy Dubai offers training sessions as per the AC Milan philosophy. In addition to technical aspects relating to football, experts train and support the athletes in learning healthy nutrition, which is essential for their well-being, both physically and mentally.