Thousands of fans log in to Ronaldo live video chat on Internet

Brazilian soccer star Ronaldo during his live video chat on Internet, during which he discussed both football and the TeleFood campaign to end hunger

Brazilian soccer superstar Ronaldo expressed his strong support for the campaign to end hunger and answered questions from fans around the world live on Internet on Friday 16 January 1998. The footballer spoke for more than half an hour from his home in Milan, where he plays for the Italian club Inter.

Ronaldo is a leading celebrity supporter of FAO's TeleFood initiative - an annual event calling for solidarity to help the 800 million hungry people in the world feed themselves. In a pledge of support for TeleFood 1997 and for FAO's work towards "Food for All", Ronaldo - who began his football career as a bare-footed five-year-old on the streets of Rio de Janeiro - called the attention of millions of football fans to the plight of hungry children. "If you're hungry when you are a kid, you can't think, you can't study," he said. "You can't even run and play football. You just don't have a chance."

During his unique live video chat session, Ronaldo fielded questions about the fight to feed the world's malnourished children, and about the world's favourite sport. One fan asked him why he had decided to join FAO's campaign against hunger. He said, "It is unbearable to know that 200 million children go to bed hungry every night. Every person has the right to food. But we have to find lasting solutions. It is not enough to give the hungry fish, you must teach them how to fish. And that is what FAO is about."

When asked if he really believed that contributions to a campaign such as Telefood could make a difference, he answered, "There is no quick solution, no quick fix, but a little contribution can make a big difference. With $10, for example, you can buy 10 chickens and help a poor farmer get enough eggs to feed his family for one year. That is a better solution than buying him food."

A fan from France wanted to know who he thought would be the French player of 1998. Many callers wanted to know when he would return to Brazil to play for his homeland. A sixteen-year-old wanted advice about how to improve his football techniques. Questions for Ronaldo had been pouring in via e-mail for a week before the session. The event was so popular that many potential viewers were unable to get access to Ronaldo's homepage.

Go to Ronaldo's official site

22 January 1998

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