Nicolas Anelka Image Credit: Supplied picture

Dubai: Nicolas Anelka, former French international footballer, appealed to the people of Dubai to continue to implement the safety and prevention procedures to fight the COVID-19 pandemic through the final week of the month of Ramadan.

Speaking in a video message to his fans as part of Dubai Sports Council’s ‘Be Fit, Be Safe’ programme, Anelka said: “Salaam Alaykum everybody, Nicolas Anelka. “[Greetings] to all my friends in Dubai, the UAE and the world. We have been very successful until now against the COVID-19 virus in leading our life and doing our job. So we have to keep it this way.

“This is a special month, a blessed month which is Ramadan. We have to continue to implement the safety and prevention procedures. So please respect the safety instructions in order to preserve your health and happiness. Be aware of the spaces permitted by the authorities, maintain your distance with others, do your fasting and, of course, keep exercising.

“My message for the Muslims would be – we are blessed. We are lucky to be still here to be able to enjoy this beautiful month. So read a bit more [Holy] Koran, learn a bit more about our beautiful religion, and may Allah accept our prayers. Salaam,” said the Frenchman, 41, who wears a cap with Eyal Zayed (Zayed’s Sons) written on it in the video. Anelka, who won the 2000 European Championship with France, has played for top clubs like Arsenal, Manchester City and Real Madrid.

The ‘Be Fit, Be Safe’ campaign, which was launched by Dubai Sports Council following the precautionary restrictions imposed by authorities due to the pandemic, has received widespread support with top football stars like Barcelona’s Croatian ace Ivan Rakitic, Real Madrid’s French striker Karim Benzema, Borussia Dortmund’s Achraf Hakimi, Manchester United legend Ryan Giggs, former Spain international Michel Salgado, rising Portuguese star Joao Felix backing the campaign alongside greats like Luis Figo of Portugal, Brazil’s Roberto Carlos, Carles Puyol of Spain and Italy’s Gennaro Gattuso among many others.

The campaign has also received widespread support from the community with experts from the fitness industry and some of UAE’s top sports stars, taking part alongside many others.

As part of the campaign, DSC has also linked up with some of the leading brands from UAE’s fitness industry to offer free daily virtual fitness classes, led by certified fitness trainers. The Council has also organised a number of virtual sports events and webinars under the ‘Be Fit, Be Safe’ initiative over the past weeks, including the world’s first ‘Marathon at Home’and a Virtual Tour Challenge for cycling enthusiasts.