Q&A: Star footballer Clarence Seedorf at unique Expo 2020 event for children of determination

DUBAI, 20 November 2021 – Football legend Clarence Seedorf, all-time great, visited Expo 2020 Dubai yesterday, leading Play for Good, an afternoon of coaching and a unique football game for children of determination at Expo’s Sports, Fitness and Wellbeing Hub.

The event was organised by G42, Expo’s Official AI Enablement Premier Partner, and not-for-profit organisation Heroes of Hope, founded by Hollie Murphy, to promote the inclusivity of people of determination in sports and fitness.

Former Netherlands international Seedorf, 45, also toured the Expo 2020 site, including visits to the Country Pavilions of the Netherlands, Suriname (his birthplace), Italy and the UAE.

Seedorf is the only man to win the UEFA Champions League with three different clubs, during a hugely successful playing career with the likes of Ajax, Real Madrid, Inter Milan and AC Milan, followed by management stints with AC Milan and in China, Spain and Cameroon. He has been involved in a number of philanthropic and charitable projects around the world, using the power of sport and football for good.

نجم الكرة الهولندية كلارنس سيدورف يحضر فعالية للأطفال من أصحاب الهمم في إكسبو 2020 دبي
DUBAI, 19 November 2021. Football legend Clarence Seedorf during the Heroes of Hope event at Aussie Park, Expo 2020 Dubai. (Photo by Christophe Viseux/Expo 2020 Dubai)

Can you tell us more about what you have been doing here today with G42 and Heroes of Hope?

I’ve been to some pavilions, looking around the Surinamese pavilion, the Dutch one, Italy and, of course, the [United Arab] Emirates – a beautiful Expo. And the most important moment was playing with the kids here for Play for Good … making everybody’s hearts really warm. So it was a good end of the day.

How can football and sport more widely help to make the world a better place?

I’ve always promoted football, sports in general, for change. We have great examples from great leaders like Nelson Mandela, who changed the country [of South Africa] using sports – rugby, at that specific moment – to create change and to create impact. It’s simply the best way forward: sports and education, that is how we will have a more peaceful world and, for sure, for the kids, they will have a brighter future if you can make sure they all have access to it. So this is what we want to continue to promote and work on.

DUBAI, 19 November 2021. Football legend Clarence Seedorf with children during the Heroes of Hope event at Aussie Park, Expo 2020 Dubai. (Photo by Christophe Viseux/Expo 2020 Dubai)

What does the future hold for you in football? Can we expect to see you back in management soon?

My life is not football – football is part of my life. That won’t change. Now, sooner or later, I will be managing some clubs or doing other things. I’m working on a lot of interesting projects: business with impact and related to youth. So we’re going to continue to focus on that and enjoy the journey.

Are projects like this what are really important to you now, beyond football?

I’m pretty active since 25 years, trying to give back to the people and to society, using my position, creating projects. Philanthropy is important. That is really the part that makes us happy… that is really what keeps me going. In order to do that, we need to also create sustainable businesses that can have a positive impact on communities. I try to combine all of these elements in what I’m doing.