India`s date with Ronaldo on January 15
New Delhi: After the likes of Pele, Maradona and Lionel Messi, thrice world footballer of the year, Ronaldo is set to play in India in an exhibition match in Kolkata on January 15 to collect funds for the victims of Sikkim earthquake.
The exhibition match, which is the brainchild of former India captain Bhaichung Bhutia, may also see current Indian cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and former skipper Sourav Ganguly, besides Bollywood actors.
The proceeds of the match, to be played under the aegis of Football Players Association of India (FPAI), will go for the earthquake victims, which struck Sikkim in October.
The funds collected from the match will also be distributed among needy former India international footballers.
"We are organising the exhibition match to help the Sikkim earthquake victims and the ex-international players. It will be held at Salt Lake Stadium on January 15. We are going to have a press conference on January 14 and Dutch legend Ruud Gullit is expected to address it," said Bhutia.
"I am trying to stitch an India team which will have former international players including me. The match will also have Bollywood actors and cricketers. I have been in talks with John Abraham and Ranbir Kapoor. I am also going to speak to Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Sourav Ganguly who are football followers," he said.
The international XI, to be made up of former stars, will have the likes of Cafu of Barzil, Marcel Desailly of France, Paolo Maldini of Italy, Patrick Kluivert of the Netherlands, Samuel Eto`o of Cameroon, Frenchman Christian Karembeu and Rene Higuita of Colombia -- all stars in their playing days.
The Indian Football Association (IFA), the state football body for West Bengal, have already given green signal to the match.
Ruud Gullit will be the coach of the International XI side while Shyam Thapa will be his Indian counterpart.