Hundreds of football fans turned up as Brazilian football legend Ronaldinho on Sunday inaugurated the Sait Nagjee Cup football tournament commencing in Kozhikode from February 5.
Ronaldinho handed over the Nagjee trophy to the organisers to mark the inauguration of the tournament, to be played from February 5-21, at a civic reception hosted to honour him at the Kozhikode beach on Sunday.
The trophy was handed over to him by Sait Nagjee's family at the function.
Although the tournament will commence only from February 5, the inaugural ceremony has been advanced to suit Ronaldinho's convenience, according to the organisers of the tournament.
The former Barcelona and AC Milan player is the brand ambassador of the Nagjee International Football Club tournament.
"Football has the power to unite the people. It has given me an opportunity and taught me universal values of Friendship and Unity," Ronaldinho said according to a press release.
"I am supporting the work carried by Football for Peace Global and proud to be the Guest of Honour of Nagjee International Club Football tournament and becoming a footballer for peace," the 2002 World Cup winning Brazil team member said.
The Kozhikode District Football Association (KDFA) and Mondilal Sports LLP are hosting the tourney. A UK based charitable Trust, Football for Peace Global (FfP) will be the charitable partner with Aster MIMS in the tournament.
For the first time in India, seven international club teams from South America and Europe are taking part in the championship, the organisers said.
Earlier on his arrival for a two day visit to the city, Ronaldinho was given a rousing reception at the Karipur International airport, near here, this morning.
He was received by the KDFA President, Siddique Ahmed and A Pradip Kumar, MLA.
Hundreds of football lovers, waiting since morning to have a glimpse of their hero, received him with great enthusiasm.
Organisers and security officials had a tough time handling the surging crowd and it took Ronaldinho nearly half an hour to come out of the airport.