Joao Felix
Joao Felix Image Credit: Dubai Sports Council

Dubai: A few more football personalities have lent their weight to the Dubai Sports Council’s (DSC) ‘Stay Fit, Stay Safe’ campaign.

Exciting Portuguese footballer Joao Felix, former Real Madrid defender Michel Salgado, Manchester United great Ryan Giggs and well-known former referee Pierluigi Collina have all urged UAE residents to adapt and adopt to a new lifestyle that includes training and staying fit at home.

Salgado, who has been a permanent resident of Dubai for more than a decade now, has led the urgency for residents to stay fit and healthy during these trying times. “Hi, this is Michel Salgado and this is a message for all my people in Dubai and the whole of the UAE. We are living in a very difficult moment. We are fighting a battle that we were not aware of before,” the former Real Madrid and Spain right-back said.

“And in order to do so, we need to be stronger than ever. We need to be a team. We need to stick together. We need to follow all the rules of the authorities. And mentally and physically we need to be ready for it. Be fit and be safe.”

Giggs, the Wales coach and former Manchester United hero, said: “Hello to all my friends in Dubai and the UAE.

Now, I know it is a difficult time, but try and find, during the day, some time to exercise. We need to stay fit. Also make sure you stay home and stay safe. I’ll see you soon.”

The fifth most expensive footballer in history following his staggering $142 million (Dh518.5 million) move from Portugal’s Benfica to Atletico last year, Joao Felix has a message as well. “Hi to all my friends in Dubai and UAE. Take care and stay home, and don’t forget to train at home. Let’s all stay safe and be fit. Yours Joao Felix,” the 20-year-old said.

Widely considered the greatest football referee of all time after being named Fifa’s ‘Best Referee of the Year’ on six consecutive occasions, Collina’s message is homely. “Assalaam Alaikum dear friends in Dubai and UAE. It’s a very difficult time for all of us,” Collina said.

“To be safe we must stay home, and we must take some time to do some home workout. Be fit and be safe.”

Last week, former football stars and ‘Golden Card’ residents such as Luis Figo, Roberto Carlos and Nicolas Anelka had urged UAE residents to stay fit and safe as part of the Dubai Sports Council’s (DSC) ongoing ‘Be Fit, Be Safe’ campaign during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The initiative that is meant to encourage communities to exercise at home, has received a lot of support from all quarters with experts from the fitness industry and some of UAE’s top sports stars participating alongside mums, dads schoolkids from different nationalities.

Through the campaign, which is being run under the hashtag #DSCchallenge, the DSC is urging members of the community to be safe and avoid going out unless absolutely necessary. But, at the same time, the initiative is urging residents to continue exercising at home while sharing their home workout videos online, tagging @DubaiSC, to help motivate and inspire others. The DSC has also requested those sharing their videos to nominate two friends to take up the challenge.