17 Jan 2018 - 11:40
Al Gharafa playmaker Wesley Sneijder expressed his delight at being in Doha and praised the facilities at Aspire Academy and Aspetar Hospital as well as Qatar's preparations for hosting the 2022 World Cup.
17 Jan 2018 - 12:49
Argentina star Ángel Di María believes the 2022 FIFA World Cup will have a huge impact in Qatar and across the Arab world.
Speaking to www.sc.qa during Paris Saint-Germain’s recent winter training camp in Doha, Di María said he had no doubts about the tournament’s significance to the region.
“It will be a very important World Cup,” said Di María. “The stadiums are very impressive and I know the tournament will be a big boost for the Arab world.
“I have been to Doha a few times and every time I have been received very well, both on a personal level and with the team.”
Di María, who has won 92 caps for his country, went on to praise Qatar’s compact tournament plans, which will give fans the chance to see more than one match a day in 2022.
“I have played in World Cups in countries which are very big and having to take long journeys is difficult and complicated for the team,” said Di María, who was part of the Argentina squad which made it all the way to the 2014 FIFA World Cup final.
“It is very important to have a compact World Cup as it will be a lot more comfortable for the players.”
Ángel Di María hopes Argentina’s senior team can emulate the 1995 U20 side by winning on Qatari soil in 2022. Pictured is Juan Pablo Sorin at Khalifa International Stadium.
Argentina has already tasted success on Qatari soil after its youth team won the U20 World Cup in 1995 – something Di María hopes is a good omen.
“I hope we can repeat the success of 1995,” said Di María. “We have the World Cup coming up this year which we can aim to win, and if we win in Russia, hopefully we can win in Qatar as well.”
Di María, 29, is confident Argentina can lift world football’s most prestigious event for the first time since 1986 this summer after coming so close in Brazil.
“Argentina is always one of the favourites, first of all because we have Lionel Messi. There are other teams playing at a high level, like Spain and France, but Argentina is among the best.
“We have to keep working hard to remain at the top level. World Cup tournaments are always different to the qualifying rounds. If you don’t win, you go home, and that makes the games very special.”
Di María also heaped praise on Messi, who he described as the greatest player of all time.
“Messi is already the greatest,” added Di María, who has also turned out for Real Madrid and Manchester United. “Winning the World Cup would validate him, but he is already the best. Hopefully football will give Messi this World Cup – it would be good for everyone.
“Messi has achieved everything in his career – the only thing missing is a World Cup. Obviously as an Argentine and a team-mate of his, I would love for it to happen in Russia.”