Ronaldo staying with WCup despite move to LondonBy TALES AZZONI , Associated Press
Apr. 11, 2013 11:21 AM ET
SAO PAULO (AP) — Former Brazil star Ronaldo will remain active in his role with the 2014 World Cup organizing committee despite moving to London to study advertising, organizers said.
Ronaldo recently announced he will spend a few months working at the WPP advertising firm in England to gain experience in the area. The former striker owns a sports marketing company in Brazil and manages young promising Brazilian stars such as Neymar and Lucas.
The three-time FIFA player of the year joined the organizing committee in late 2011 and is considered the face of the World Cup in Brazil, helping promote the country and the tournament, as well as lending his expertise as a former player.
"He is a volunteer, he joined to lend his image," local organizing committee communications director Saint-Clair Milesi said told reporters late Wednesday. "It was a personal decision that he took, but by no means will it compromise his role."
Ronaldo and former Brazil teammate Bebeto joined the committee to help spearhead the nation's preparations for football's showcase competition next year, as well as for the upcoming Confederations Cup. They have been active within the committee, participating in board meetings and traveling along with Brazilian and FIFA officials to visit host cities across the country.
FIFA said local organizers are in daily contact with the 36-year-old Ronaldo and that the relationship will continue while he is London. Football's governing body said that Ronaldo's ideas still matter greatly and that he will be back in Brazil in May when Secretary General Jerome Valcke returns to the country to visit host cities.
"Ronaldo is still in charge when he is in Brazil," FIFA Communications Director Walter De Gregorio said. "He is the face of the LOC. He makes public appearances related to the host cities tour and that will not change. And now we can actually use him in Europe, too, we can use him more."
Ronaldo is expected to travel to Madrid and Turin, Italy, in the next few weeks on behalf of the organizing committee to help promote the Confederations Cup and the World Cup. Spain and Italy are playing in the Confederations Cup in June, along with Brazil, Japan, Mexico, Nigeria, Tahiti and Uruguay.
Ronaldo, who played in four World Cups and is the tournament's all-time leading scorer with 15 goals, helped Brazil win the 2002 World Cup, scoring twice in the final against Germany.
Follow Tales Azzoni at http://twitter.com/tazzoni