DUBAI // Football fans can meet Cristiano Ronaldo next week at a Dubai shopping centre and bid for shirts signed by 10 of the world's greatest players.
Lionel Messi, Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney, Alessandro Del Piero and Zlatan Ibrahimovic are among those who have donated shirts to the Champions for Children charity auction at the Armani Hotel in Burj Khalifa on December 28.
The money raised from the auction, which Ronaldo and many other leading football names will attend, will go to Save the Children. And 10 winners of a competition will have a chance to meet the Portuguese star of Real Madrid.
"Ronaldo will be giving a message about the cause the event is supporting, the Every One campaign that Save the Children has been running globally since 2009," said Soha Ellaithy, the group's director of Gulf partnerships.
"The objective of this campaign is to reach the UN's millennium development goal number four, which is the reduction of child mortality by two thirds by 2015."
The other players who have given shirts are Francesco Totti, Frank Lampard, Iker Casillas, Nani and the retired Brazilian ace Ronaldo. The shirts will be on show at Dubai Mall in the run-up to the auction.
Cristiano Ronaldo is due to visit the mall display on December 27 and will sign 10 Save the Children T-shirts that he will give to the competition winners when he meets them.
"We really appreciate the support of the soccer community, and especially Ronaldo and the other players who have donated their shirts for the auction," said Ms Ellaithy. "We think this is a great contribution, not just to raise funds but also to raise awareness.
"It sends the message that children's rights can be safeguarded, that there are simple solutions and everyone can play a role."
Save the Children is an international NGO that campaigns for children's rights worldwide and helps youngsters in trouble spots and developing countries.
The money raised by the auction will go to an Every One project in Egypt.
"It's a mother and child well-being project targeting improving access to health care for mothers and newborn children in very deprived slum areas in Cairo and the south of Egypt," Ms Ellaithy said.
The auction will be the finale to the Audi Football Night gala dinner, for which those attending will pay Dh5,000 a ticket.
The dinner is part of the programme for the Globe Soccer event on December 28 and 29, running alongside the Dubai International Sports Conference.
Globe Soccer is an annual meeting of leading clubs, leagues, federations and other institutions involved in the international transfer market.